The burn center’s director says the comedian is up and walking, telling jokes and making out with hospital staff, even handing out cookies to young patients.
LOS ANGELES — Jay Leno underwent surgery after suffering severe burns after a fire broke out while working on a vintage car and remains hospitalized for further treatment, the physician treating him said Wednesday.
The former “Tonight Show” host was in good condition and his wife, Mavis, is with him at the Grossman Burn Center, north of Los Angeles, said Peter H. Grossman, the center’s medical director at West Hills Hospital.
“He’s in good spirits today,” Grossman told a televised news conference. “Last weekend, Leno suffered burns to his face, hands and chest that a plastic surgeon described as second-degree or higher. Classified as severe.
Grossman said some of the facial injuries are “a little deeper and a little more concerning” because they’re showing signs of progressing to third-degree burns, as can happen with burns.
Treatments to prevent burns from getting worse include high-pressure oxygen therapy to speed healing, along with surgery to clean and shave the burn, he said. A temporary “biological skin substitute” is placed over the area, he said.
Grossman said one of Leno’s surgeries went well and another is planned for this week. He said the comedian was up and walking, telling jokes and making out with staff, even handing out cookies to young patients.
The doctor said the fire started in the Burbank garage where Leno stores his famous collection of 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 get back on his feet.
Grossman said he admired Leno’s eagerness but urged him to be realistic.
“I had to tell him that he had to step back a little bit and just realize that some of this takes time.” They said. “He’s very accommodating, he understands it. I think he’s realizing that maybe he needs to take it. A little slower than he initially expected.”
The doctor said he expected Leno to make a full recovery but it was too early to know if there would be “residuals” from the injury. He did not elaborate.