Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Donor Spotlight: Art Lussi
We hear "thank yous" from grateful Fletcher Allen patients every day. For some, the experience is so powerful, it moves them to give what they can so that others might experience the same advanced care from compassionate providers.
Art Lussi is one of those patients.
It was the fall of 2009 when Arthur Lussi of Lake Placid, New York started feeling a strange sensation in his feet. They felt tingly – similar to how toes feel when recovering from frostbite.
When the sensation continued for a couple days, Lussi – who owns Lake Placid's Crowne Plaza Resort and Golf Club with his family – knew something wasn't right. He called his family practitioner, Woods McCahill, MD, who asked him to walk on his heels and then on his toes. Lussi couldn't do it.
McCahill recommended Lussi see a neurologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care. He said he could have Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) – a neurological disorder where the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system, causing muscle strength to rapidly deteriorate.
In the case of Lussi – a healthy, athletic 48-year-old – less than one week after he first started having symptoms, he could no longer walk.
At Fletcher Allen, Lussi was seen by a team of neurologists and neurology residents. He received high-dose immunoglobulin therapy – a treatment that lessens the immune system's attack on the nervous system. He responded well, regaining strength to the point where he could walk again.
His neurologist, Angela Applebee, MD, said Lussi was an impressive patient in the way he worked hard to improve his strength. "He was very motivated to get better," she said.
Throughout his hospital stay, Lussi remembers being especially grateful for the dedicated men and women who expertly cared for him and helped put him at ease. Lussi said he gained great respect for the thoughtfulness and hard work of the nurses. "It will impress me for the rest of my life."
He especially remembers a neurology resident named Irfan Jafree, MD. "His bedside manner was fabulous…He had such a wonderful calming influence on me."
Lussi was so impressed by his experience at Fletcher Allen that he decided to start a philanthropic relationship and give back to the organization. He made a generous gift to Neurology services to support the work of the medical team that cared for him.
"I think people often wonder, living in a rural area, if we need to go to big cities for treatment," Lussi said. "This proves to me that we are extremely fortunate to have a facility like Fletcher Allen in our area."
Today, Lussi is healthy and recovering well. The former Dartmouth College ski racer has been able to return to work at the Lake Placid resort and participate in the activities he loves, including cross-country and downhill skiing.