Leno has surgery for burns from car fire, in good condition

Jay Leno remains in hospital for further treatment after suffering severe burns from a fire while repairing his classic car, doctors caring for him said Wednesday.

The former “Tonight Show” host is doing well, said Peter H. Grossman, medical director of West Hills Hospital Center, who was joined by his wife, Mavis, in Gross, north of Los Angeles. Grossman Burn Center.

“He’s in good spirits today,” Grossman said in a televised news conference. Leno suffered burns to his face, hands and chest over the weekend that plastic surgeons classified as second-degree burns or closer to worse.

Some of the facial wounds were “a little bit deeper and more worrisome” because they showed signs of progressing to third degree, like burns, Grossman said.

Treatment aimed at preventing burns from worsening includes hyperbaric oxygen therapy to stimulate healing, and surgery to clean and shave burn wounds, he said. A temporary “biological skin substitute” was placed in the area, he said.

Grossman said Leno underwent one surgery without incident and plans to have a second surgery this week. The comedian got up and walked around, telling jokes, being popular with staff and even handing out cookies to young patients.

The fire broke out in the Burbank garage where Leno kept his famous cars and other motor vehicles. In a statement earlier this week, Leno called the burns “serious” but said he would only need “a week or two to recover.”

Grossman said he appreciated Leno’s enthusiasm, but cautioned him to be realistic.

“I had to tell him that he needs to take a step back and realize that some of this is going to take time,” he said. “He’s very submissive and he understands that. I think he realizes that he does need to go a little slower than he initially expected.”

The doctor said he hoped Leno would make a full recovery, but it was too early to tell if there would be “remnants” of the injury. He did not elaborate.

— Lynn Elber, Associated Press

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