Bill Davis


For nearly 40 years of his life, Bill Davis lived with constant knee pain – brought on by a college soccer injury and severe arthritis.

As the pain grew progressively worse, he had to struggle to do the things he loved, such as biking, skiing, sailing and golf. It also became difficult to do daily tasks like going up and down stairs and tying his shoes.

“I literally lived every day with pain,” said Davis, an athletic 60-year-old who was born and raised in Vermont. “The quality of my life was terrible.”

Then in 2006, everything changed. Just before Davis was to get married, his fiancé convinced him he needed to have surgery. Davis, a former chief executive officer at Cabot Creamery, was living in Michigan at the time as president and chief executive of the Learning Care Group, one of the largest early education and child care providers in the U.S.

He searched for surgeons in his region but didn’t find anything to his liking. So, Davis decided to return to his home state and have his surgery at Fletcher Allen – where he had had several successful orthopaedic surgeries in the past.

Fletcher Allen orthopaedic surgeon James Howe, M.D., replaced Davis’ arthritic knee, using a new technologically advanced implant designed to restore natural knee motion.

The knee replacement was successful. Less than 18 months after surgery, Davis was able to spend a week helicopter-skiing in British Columbia with his children – something he loved to do but had been too painful in recent years.

Today, Davis trains with his tri-athlete wife Debbie and bicycles at least 100 miles every weekend. On a recent trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica, he hiked the famous Boiling Lakes, an arduous eight-mile trek, and two days later ascended the 3,000-foot Gros Piton in St. Lucia.

“This knee is so technologically good that I don’t even know I’ve got an artificial knee,” said Davis, who has full range of motion and no pain. “I have to think about which knee I had done because they both feel the same.”

Davis praised the care he received at Fletcher Allen – from the pre-op staff to the anesthesiologists to the surgeons to post-op care. “The nurses were just wonderful … They just had the right balance of making me feel comfortable and that I was the most important thing in their life.”

As CEO of Learning Care Group, with 20,000 employees, Davis is also impressed with Fletcher Allen from a business point of view. “I know how difficult it is to have the combination of efficient care operations and very good high-quality care operations. I think that Fletcher Allen does a great job of bringing those together.”

With his new knee, Davis has a lot to look forward to. He and his wife are planning a 3,500 mile, 30-day coast-to-coast bicycle trip. They also plan to ride 300 miles this summer to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

 “I enjoy everything at a much higher level,” Davis said. “It’s changed my life.”