Dr. LaRossa, Surgery

Dr. Donato “Don” D. LaRossa, professor emeritus of surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine, passed away January 21; he was 72. Dr. LaRossa had been on the faculty since 1991 and became emeritus in 2007. He was also on staff at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he had been since 1976 and served as CHOP’s director of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery from 2001-2007. Prior to that, he worked at the US Army’s Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver.

Dr. LaRossa specialized in surgery to repair cleft lip and palate defects, as well as reconstructive surgery and aesthetic improvements to the breast, face and ear. He also operated on melanoma patients. Dr. LaRossa was involved in many cleft palate missions in India, Asia and South America, where he performed many surgeries on needy children.

He received the Penn Plastic Surgery Annual Teaching Award entitled “The Don LaRossa Teaching Award” to recognize him for his lifelong commitment to resident education.

Dr. LaRossa was a member of the American Medical Association and a member of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association where he was president in 2003. He was a charter member from 1984-2003 in the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Dr. LaRossa received his BA from Seton Hall University in 1963 and his MD from Georgetown University in 1967.

Dr. LaRossa is survived by his wife, Anne; children, Victoria Karlson and Nicole Ginieczki; stepchildren, Brian King, George Congdon, Gregory King and Laura Wethman; sister, Jeanne Hallock; brother, Robert; and 17 grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to Rotaplast International, 3317 26th St., San Francisco, CA 94110; Cleft Palate Foundation, 1504 East Franklin St., Suite 102, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or Alliance for Smiles, 2562 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94107.