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P.Y. 7/17/2012

posted Nov 14, 2012, 6:36 AM by Cocoanut Admin   [ updated Nov 29, 2012, 8:50 AM ]
[Emanual Yovino, Clifford Johnson]

On the November night of the Cocoanut Grove fire my late father, Emanuel Yovino, was a Resident physician at the old Boston City Hospital. My father was part of the pioneering team of doctors who performed the first skin grafts on those burn patients from the fire. I believe penicillin had just been introduced which was being used in the War and to much success in treating those burn patients. 

One story about one patient stands out in my mind. My father treated one of the sailors who was badly burned in the fire. I believe his name was Clifford "Cliffy" Johnson. The grafts were successful and effective and as things might happen this young sailor fell in love with one of his nurses at Boston City and they were married.

Cut to 1955 or 1956. This sailor, "Clffy" had moved to I believe Missouri and had started a new life. Sadly, it came to a tragic end when the Jeep he was driving flipped over and he died in the subsequent fire. My father was near to tears when he read the news article. Again, I believe the sailors name was Clifford "Cliffy" Johnson and my dad died in 1963 at the young age of 57. After the residency he resumed his practice as a general practioner as most doctors did at that time with an office in Boston and later on Broadway in South Boston on what became known as "Pill Hill" because of the number of doctors located there. Those were the days when doctors made house calls as routine and had evening office hours as my dad did. It took a physical toll on him resulting in two heart attacks within 5 years of each other; the second of which he did not survive. Till his dying day I don't think he ever forgot about the tragic death of "Buddy".

Nonetheless, my father was one of the unheralded pioneers in skin grafts due to the Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942.

P.Y. 7/17/2012