Dermatologist, HIV physician dies in house fire
Samuel Ira Greene, clinical professor of dermatology and chief of the division of dermatology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, died Oct. 20 in a fire in his Palo Alto home. He was 50.
Officials attributed cause of death to smoke inhalation from an accidental fire in his mattress.
A memorial service on the Stanford campus will be scheduled for January 1998. The family has suggested memorial contributions may be sent to The S. Ira Greene Memorial Fund, c/o Department of Medicine - 4th Floor, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, 751 South Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128.
Greene, who came to Stanford as a resident 21 years ago, was well known for his treatment of HIV-positive patients, and since 1988, he had served as associate director of the AIDS Program at SCVMC. Friends noted that the work often took an emotional toll as he got close to patients who inevitably died. Colleagues point to Greene's compassionate advocacy for his patients, including securing one-time exemptions to use experimental protocols as a final effort to save dying patients.
His research and teaching interests included the herpes simplex virus, the human papiloma virus, and the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chicken pox in children and can lead to shingles in older patients.
In addition to his busy clinical duties, Greene was a popular and respected teacher at the medical school. He won Kaiser teaching awards in 1985 and 1989, as well as the Bloomfield Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990.
Greene graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1973 and served his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson.
He came to Stanford for his dermatology residency in 1976 and served a fellowship in dermatopathology in 1978. Two years later he was appointed chief of dermatology at SCVMC.
Among Greene's survivors are his mother, Mary Kathryn Greene of Tryon, N.C.; a brother, Roy Greene Jr. of Lawrenceville, Ga.; two sisters, Mary Kathryn Perales of Laurel, Md., and Virginia Sue Hilson of Landrum, S.C.
Chief of Staff