In a ceremony that featured tributes from patients and firefighters, the Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital saluted its 25th anniversary Thursday by renaming the acclaimed facility after its founder and medical director.
With the help of children who had been his patients, Dr. A. Richard Grossman unveiled a sign declaring it the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.
A parade of speakers praised Grossman and the Burn Center staff for providing extraordinary care and pioneering treatments.
Among them were Jeanette Williams, grandmother of Kristin Williams, a toddler who was badly burned in 1993 when a day-care worker held her in a tub of scalding water after a toilet-training accident; Gigi Groves, an actress and fashion model who credits the Burn Center's treatments of her facial burns for enabling her to continue her career; and Ron Mass, the Topanga carpenter who was critically burned while trying to rescue a friend from the 1993 Malibu firestorm.
Mass recalled how paramedics thought that he had no chance of survival. If not for the Burn Center, Mass said, "I wouldn't be here today." He spoke of how, during his long stay at the facility, the staff "became my friends. . . . I just love this place very much."
Grossman praised his staff, which includes nurses who have worked in the facility throughout the 25 years of its existence.
Grossman began the burn unit with two beds in 1969. The unit, which was formally created in 1970, had been expanded by 1978 to include 30 beds, the nation's largest private burn center.
Among the medical techniques pioneered by Grossman and his staff are various medications, the use of high-pressure oxygen chambers to enhance healing and development of "cloned" patient skin for grafting.