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.
Phil Gullion has always enjoyed outdoor activities – scuba diving, sailing, skiing, going for nature walks. But when he developed chronic pain in his knees, he had to give most of that up.
“I wasn’t doing much of anything,” said Gullion, 60, of Vergennes. “My knees felt really unstable.”
Diagnosed with a combination of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, Gullion had had problems with his legs and feet for many years. Recently, his knees became worse and he had difficulty walking, bending or doing any kind of body movement.
As a computer network technician at Vermont Student Assistance Corporation – a job that requires bending down to install computer systems -- Gullion also had difficulty doing his job.
His doctor, Fletcher Allen rheumatologist Sheldon Cooper, M.D., referred him to David Halsey, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Fletcher Allen, who recommended knee surgery.
Gullion opted for double knee replacement. “What is really came down to was, how willing was I to go through it all again a year or so later? I couldn’t see any point in waiting.”
Dr. Halsey performed the surgery, removing diseased bone and tissue and implanting artificial knee joints. Gullion had a speedy, pain-free recovery and was back on his feet in record time.
Throughout the experience, his care was well-coordinated among the many different providers who treated him – from rheumatology, surgery, radiology, rehabilitation therapies and other services. “Everyone seemed very aware of my surgery, my arthritis and my ongoing health in general,” he said.
“I’m very fortunate to be close to a medical center like Fletcher Allen. If I had been away from comprehensive care, I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly.”
The surgery has made a tremendous difference in Gullion’s quality of life. Today, he has returned to many of his previous activities, recently climbed Mt. Philo twice in one weekend and has even gone dancing.
“It’s just nice to not have that constant pain. . . . I have a spring to my step again.”