Sunday, April 27, 2014

Remembering Dr. Grossman

There are people in this world who touch our lives and our hearts in a major way. These people are not just “people,” but extraordinary human beings who are actively trying to make a difference in this world. They are the ones helping others, helping the environment and really stepping up to do something much more greater than they can possibly comprehend. And no matter how large it is, or how much it requires of them, they will not be afraid and hope that someone else will do it. No, they are brave enough and smart enough to take on this mission in their lives and do it no matter what. They feel called to do this because they know that this is what they must do. This is what they are here for and this is how they can help others.

This, I feel, accurately describes one person I had the privilege to know many years ago: Dr. A. Richard Grossman.

As many people who know me are aware, I am a burn survivor. My burns are the result of a car accident I was in at the age of 20 months. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for the firefighters who pulled me out from underneath the burning wreckage of a car, but I would not have recovered from these burns if it had not been for Dr. Grossman and the entire staff of the Burn Unit at the Sherman Oaks Hospital. Even though I spent many years since then in and out of different hospials undergoing reconstructive surgery because of my burns (I lost my left ear and the fingers of my left hand in that accident), Dr. Grossman was my very first doctor on this journey and he was, ever since, the one doctor I went to and turned to before making any decisions about anything related to recovery from the burns and rebuilding what was damaged. My family moved around a lot, but I never lost touch with Dr. Grossman. We often called him up about one thing or another, or we sent him letters and cards. Sometimes we would hear about something that Dr. Grossman has done or see him and his son, Peter, on the news. I even heard about his other son, David, who was involved in TV, and at the end of a show, when David’s name appeared, I’d point it out and say, “That’s my doctor’s son!”

Yes, Dr. Grossman was indeed “my doctor.” For a lot of people, we have so many doctors or surgeons, but for some, there will be that ONE doctor who stands out above the rest. That one doctor you know you can trust and who you respect for being so  dedicated to his career. Dr. Grossman really was the best doctor I have ever known, and he was one of THE doctors who made a difference in my life, along with a few others. I never forgot about him no matter how old I got or where I lived. I tried to stay in touch with him as often as possible, even when cards were returned in the mail or emails bounced. But I never forgot about him and I never stopped thinking about him. He was truly a remarkable man who did remarkable things for so many people. A whole room just lit up the minute he entered through the door. To this day I can still remember his smile and even his voice.

So I was deeply saddened to learn recently that Dr. Grossman had passed away. I was in tears while reading his obituary. He really made such a big difference in this world and he really helped so many people.

God bless you, Dr. Grossman. Your work will live on and your legacy will be cherished. Rest in peace, Doctor. The world may have lost a talented and skilled doctor but I am glad there are others who will continue your work and preserve your memory. Thank you for all the work you did and for helping so many people in this world, including me. You will never be forgotten and we will always keep you in our hearts.

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