- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bradford Cannon, 98, plastic surgery pioneer

BOSTON (AP) — Dr. Bradford Cannon, a plastic surgeon who helped pioneer a new treatment for burns and used it on victims of the deadly Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire of 1942, died Dec. 20 of pneumonia at his daughter’s home in Lincoln, Mass. He was 98.

Dr. Cannon was the first chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was credited with saving the lives of soldiers maimed during World War II.

As a young doctor, he used a new method he developed with another surgeon to treat survivors of the fire that killed nearly 500 patrons of Boston’s Cocoanut Grove.

He wrapped victims’ burns with petroleum-coated gauze containing boric acid, which preserved skin. The technique eventually became a standard treatment for burns, replacing a more invasive method that used tannic acid, which destroyed skin.

Dr. Cannon was a Cambridge, Mass., native who graduated from Harvard College in 1929 and Harvard Medical School in 1933. He served in the Army during World War II.

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