First published in the Nov. 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
By City News Service
Comedian Jay Leno is expected to make a full recovery from the burn injuries he suffered to his hands, face and chest in a fire that erupted while he worked on a vintage car in a Burbank garage, his doctor said Wednesday, although his recovery may not happen as quickly as the former “Tonight Show” host originally thought.
“I do anticipate him making a full recovery,” Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills told reporters.
Grossman said the comedian’s “condition is good” after suffering serious injuries.
“He’s Jay Leno,” Grossman said. “He’s walking around and he’s cracking jokes. I can tell you he’s incredibly kind to our nursing staff. … He’s been appreciative of everybody here and he’s an ideal patient, and one who understands the seriousness of his injury.”
Leno was injured last weekend when a gasoline fire erupted at his Burbank vintage-car garage. Grossman said Leno was underneath a car when the fire began, and he suffered “pretty significant burns to his face and hands.”
The 72-year-old comedian was initially taken to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, but was ultimately transferred to the Grossman Burn Center. He underwent a grafting surgery, and Grossman said he will undergo a second procedure later this week. It was too early to tell if additional surgeries will be required.
He has also been undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy designed to stimulate oxygen circulation in the bloodstream to hasten the healing process. Grossman described the burns as “deep second-degree burns, and possibly some third-degree burns,” noting that their severity can change over time.
“Our hope is when everything is all said and done he will do well,” Grossman said. “But burn injuries are progressive and dynamic and it’s hard to predict ultimately what the final outcome will be at this stage of the game. I can say that he has been a remarkably kind and engaging resident in the hospital here. He was passing out cookies to some of the children who are here today in the burn unit, and he is incredibly compliant and we’re very fortunate that he’s been so kind to everybody here.”
Leno issued a statement on Monday saying, “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”
But Grossman said that timeline may be a little optimistic. He said he told Leno he needs to “step it back a little and realize” the treatment will take some time.
“I do feel he will be back to work at some point soon and back to the things that he loves to do,” Grossman said.