Richard or "Dr. G" as he was widely known, passed away in March at the age of 81. But in 1958 when he was a young emergency room doctor in Chicago's Cook County Hospital, a fire swept through a parochial school.
"I had to count 98 children, all suffocated or burned to death," Dr. G told the Los Angeles Times in a 1992 interview. "The catastrophe indelibly stayed in my mind."
In 1958, relatively little could be done for severely burned victims. But over the years as medical science advanced, Dr. G was often at the forefront.
Having arrived at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Southern California in 1969, Dr. G took the unusual step of setting aside two beds for burn patients, and began training medical professionals in burn care expertise.
Having one of the few burn care facilities, burn patients began arriving from all over the world, and by 1978, Sherman Oaks Hospital had 30 beds, more than any other private burn care facility.
What was renamed The Grossman Burn Center of Sherman Oaks Hospital kept growing, as today there are Grossman Burn Centers in Bakersfield, Kansas City and Phoenix, as well as the original Grossman Burn Center which is now at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.
Dr. Richard Grossman Dailynews.com file photo
Some burn care patients are famous, such as comedian Richard Pryor, who in 1980 spent six weeks at The Grossman Burn Center, fighting for his life and then in recovery from third degree burns that charred over 50% of his body.
But most patients are children, firefighters, car crash victims and others, as at any time, anyone anywhere can suddenly be tragically burned.
At the original Grossman Burn Center, roughly 1/3 of the Center's nearly 400 yearly patients are children, because Dr G had a soft spot in his heart for children and because sadly, so many burn victims are children.
But the good news is that thanks to Dr. G, not only are there comprehensive burn care centers in various parts of the world, but many innovative burn treatment techniques that are now standard, were developed by Dr. G and others, influenced by his work.