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'ICU grandpa,' who cradled sick and premature babies, has died

November 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

"The Baby Whisperer," "ICU Grandpa" and, sometimes, just "Grandpa David."

(CNN)"The Baby Whisperer," "ICU Grandpa" and, sometimes, just "Grandpa David. "

These were the nicknames that David Deutchman earned by volunteering for 14 years at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Deutchman would head to the hospital to comfort and care for sick and premature babies.

On November 14, Deutchman died at the age of 86, just 17 days after being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, his family said.

"He was at a physical therapy appointment in the neighboring building and he saw the hospital and just popped in," Lilly said.

That lead to his next act: becoming "the baby whisperer," Lilly said.

Joanna Slade, a nurse at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who worked with Deutchman in the hospital for eight years, said she never saw a baby crying in his arms.

"He was a very soothing presence to our children," Slade said.

Once Deutchman had completed his training, he became well known throughout the hospital and often formed long relationships with the families he met.

"He just really had an incredible touch comforting babies," Lilly said.

But, Lilly added, "He always said the impact on him was far greater than what he thought he had on them.

Once Deutchman's diagnosis became known, the staff at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and his "kids" began to show their "ICU Grandpa" how much he meant to them.

Slade and the staff at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta organized a drive-by parade in front of his home that featured a NICU transport truck and cars decorated with balloons, hearts and well wishes.

"The love was palpable," Lilly said.

Slade said she hopes that Deutchman's legacy will continue to provide some comfort to families in the future.

"I certainly hope that families who have lost a child take a little comfort in knowing that there's an ICU Grandpa with open arms waiting to comfort them. "

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