Burn center founder Dr. A. Grossman dies at 81

80398 full
80398 full

Dr. A. Richard Grossman, a plastic surgeon who founded an internationally-known burn-treatment center in Los Angeles, has died. He was 81.

His wife, Elizabeth Grossman, tells the Los Angeles Times that Grossman died Thursday at his home in Thousand Oaks. The cause of death hasn't been determined.

Bill Jenson, a retired Glendale firefighter, was one of Grossman's well-known Southern California patients. More than 70 percent of Jenson's body was burned while battling a Malibu brush fire in 1996.

It took some 40 surgeries before he could physically recover.  Jenson, now 70 years old, says Dr. Grossman repaired more than just his looks. 

"He had a wonderful bedside manner. When you were laying in bed, instead of standing above you and talking to you, he'd get down on his knees and talk to you eye level. He repaired the body more on the inside of mind and heart than he could ever do on the outside," Jenson told KPCC.

Jenson and Grossman remained close friends over the years, he said.

Grossman's center started in 1969 with two beds at a Sherman Oaks hospital. It evolved into the Grossman Burn Center, now located in West Hills with facilities in Bakersfield, Phoenix, Ariz. and Kansas City, Mo.

The center has treated badly burned children, firefighters, plane crash victims and celebrities including Richard Pryor.

Grossman said the burn center was inspired by his experience as a resident in 1958 when he treated victims of a Chicago school fire that killed some 90 children.

This story has been updated.

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