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A man from Atlanta retired to spend the rest of his life cuddling premature babies

A man in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, spent his 15-year retirement cuddling premature babies and being a shoulder to lean on for struggling parents at his local hospital.

When David Deutchman retired from his career in sales in 2005, he found an unusual way to fill his time. He spent the next 15 years of his life cuddling premature babies and comforting their parents and became known as the “The Baby Whisperer” and “ICU Grandpa”.

He started to volunteer in a hospital upon his retirement and, after an encounter with two patients’ mothers, he knew he wanted to work with the hospital’s smallest patients.

“The Baby Whisperer”

He then heard of the “baby buddy” program at Scottish Rite Hospital, which invites volunteers to visit the PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) and NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) wards and comfort small babies who were either born premature or have other special medical needs.

“When I first came to work for the hospital, they gave me a little baby to hold”, David Deutchman said. “And the child life person walked by and said, ‘Hey, you hold babies? I’ve got a job for you.’ And I just loved it”.

He spent every Tuesday in the PICU and Thursday in the NICU holding tiny babies in his arms and comforting them when their parents could not.

“Before you know it, I was holding little babies”,  David said. “And [the years] have just flown by”.

He was particularly good at calming distressed babies. Clinical nurse expert Angie Hawthorne said: “When he takes a baby into his arms, you can see the baby relax, because David’s so relaxed”, she said.

“Holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby”.

David wasn’t just there for the babies though.

David said, “I talk with mothers and sometimes I hold their hand, because holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby”.

He continued, “there’s a lot of stress for these parents. Having somebody tell them they can go get breakfast and assure them I’ll be there with their baby, it means something to them. It’s important”.

By 2017, Deutchman had comforted an incredible 1,200 babies as well as their grateful parents.

David Deutchman sadly passed away after a short 17-day battle with stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer on 14 November 2020, aged 86.

“We’re grateful for every minute of every day we got with this great husband, father and grandfather”, his daughter, Susan Lilly, told CNN.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “David’s simple but important service would have meant so much to these babies and their families and he showed how it was possible to be pro-life in unusual ways. Hopefully, David’s selflessness will inspire others to support premature babies and their mothers through these difficult circumstances”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.