Jay Leno Suffers Severe Burns in Garage Fire Accident

Jay Leno Suffers Severe Burns in Garage Fire AccidentHollywood was buzzing the week before the Thanksgiving holiday when famed talk show host and car collector Jay Leno was seriously hurt by a gasoline fire in his Burbank garage. According to reports, authorities responded to an emergency call to Leno’s address on Saturday, November 12 and took an adult male to the hospital for assessment and treatment.

Leno, 72, would later release a statement assuring fans, saying, “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am ok. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.” Leno keeps his vast car collection maintained with current insurance, registration, and a full tank of gas, so each car is ready to drive at any time. Unfortunately, this may have led to the severity of his injuries. Per the NY Times, “The combination of the chemicals from the gas and the fire probably made the burns that Mr. Leno suffered worse, his doctor said.”

About Jay Leno’s burn injuries

The NY Times describes Leno’s burn injuries as “deep second-degree burns, with possibly third-degree burns.” Most burn injuries are serious, but Leno’s run into the severe. Burn injuries are classified by degrees, with first-degree being the mildest:

  • First-degree burns: These affect only the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Skin might be red and painful but without blisters. Mild sunburn is a first-degree burn.
  • Second-degree burns: These affect the epidermis and the dermis (the second layer of the skin). The injured area is painful, red, blistered, and swollen.
  • Third-degree burns: These burns destroy the epidermis, the dermis, and underlying tissue. Skin may appear white, blackened, or charred. The patient may not feel pain in some areas due to nerve endings being destroyed.
  • Fourth-degree burns: These go through all layers of skin and into the muscle or bone. These burns are often fatal.

The NY Times reports Leno suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face, hands, and chest, as he was working underneath one of his cars when the fire started.

Treatment for serious burn injuries

Leno underwent surgery to “excise and debride damaged tissue and place temporary skin grafts to the burned areas” and is expected to undergo a second.

Debridement, per Winchester Hospital, is a process medical professionals perform to “remove infected areas or dead cells, or clean away crust, dirt or debris” to help severe burns heal better.

Skin grafts are “thin layers of skin that surgeons take from an unburned area and then surgically place on the burned area.” Although we do not know exactly what type of skin graft Leno underwent for his injuries, there are a variety of skin graft procedures, depending on the type of burn and the particular patient:

  • Autografts, a permanent skin graft
  • Allografts or homografts, temporary grafts with donor skin from another person
  • Xenografts, temporary grafts with donor skin from a pig
  • Meshed grafts, grafts where donor skin is perforated with holes for expansion
  • Sheet grafts, where graft is placed directly without being meshed

People reports Leno is also receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Grossman Burn Center, another common treatment for severe burn injuries. Per the Center, “Studies show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can accelerate burn wound healing by increasing oxygen supply to injured areas and reducing swelling, which is helpful in maintaining healthy blood flow.”

Dr. Grossman, medical director of the burn center, explains further:

Burns are progressive. By getting a patient into a hyperbaric oxygen tank early, you can hopefully minimize that progression from a second-degree burn to a third-degree burn and hopefully improve the outcome. And so, we've been very aggressive with hyperbaric oxygen treatment with Mr. Leno.

The Mayo Clinic explains more in-depth how a hyperbaric chamber helps patients with severe burn injuries. They note that, in addition to burn therapy, hyperbaric chambers are used for decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation injuries, and severe infections.

In the oxygen chamber, “the air pressure is increased 2 to 3 times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.”

This increase in oxygen helps fight bacteria and promote faster cell healing. Most sessions are about two hours long, and take place in a clear chamber (called a monoplace unit), similar to an MRI tube. The therapy itself is not painful, but sometimes causes what the Mayo Clinic describes as a “fullness in your ears. This is similar to what you might feel in an airplane or at a high elevation.”

Jay Leno’s burn injury prognosis

Dr. Grossman reported in a press conference on November 16 that Leno is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, stating that although Leno did suffer severe injuries, “I do anticipate him making a full recovery. He’s Jay Leno. He’s walking around and he’s cracking jokes.”

Grossman did, however, make sure to caution the press that Leno’s injuries are serious, but again stressed that the comedian would recover:  “I do feel he will be back to work at some point soon and back to the things that he loves to do.”

If you suffer a burn injury in Los Angeles

What happened to Jay Leno was most likely a terrible accident and we wish him a speedy recovery. As you can see, burns are catastrophic injuries and require immediate and complex medical treatment. If you sustained a serious burn injury in an accident that was not your fault, you should not be responsible for the associated medical expenses.

You also deserve compensation for time lost from work, as well as the pain and suffering you have experienced from your injury. The personal injury attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas want to help. We understand serious injuries and we understand how to fight for the compensation and justice to which you are entitled. Our lawyers handle all types of catastrophic injury cases in the Los Angeles area. To schedule a consultation, call our offices or fill out our contact form today.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.