As told by Michael Seres
In loving memory of Michael Seres, 1969-2020
Michael was diagnosed with the incurable bowel condition known as Crohn’s Disease as a 12-year-old. Having had over 25 surgeries Michael was left with 40cm of small bowel and intestinal failure. He remained in hospital for 18 months receiving all his food and drink via an intravenous feed known as total parenteral nutrition. Faced with no other alternative on October 8th, 2011 Michael became the 11th patient in the United Kingdom to undergo a rare intestinal transplant at The Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
As part of his 15 hours of surgery Michael woke having been given an ileostomy. This is where part of the bowel is brought to the outside of the body and your waste collected in a bag. Managing an ostomy is a challenge. Dehyration is a huge issue with around 25% of patients readmitted. Michael wanted to change his life and the lives of all patients connected to medical bags. He bought parts on line and hacked together a sensor.
That hack became 11Health an integrated platform of proprietary sensors and software. The sensors automatically capture data and then delivers real time interventions back to the patients and healthcare professionals managing patients. Michael’s passion is patient led innovation.
More recently Michael is a two-time cancer patient coping with high grade b cell lymphoma as a result of the medications he takes to keep the intestine from rejecting.
Going through a transplant where 5 out of the first ten died was incredibly scary. Michael lives his life knowing his survival rates have remained at 50/50. His belief is that healthcare is just about a relationship. It takes mutual empathy, respect and trust between patient and doctor, but it takes great bravery of a medical team prepared to partner with a patient. It is not simply about the tech, it is about a change in culture and being brave. That is the big shift we need in healthcare.
Michael became the first ever Patient-in-Residence at the Stanford MedicineX programme where he helped build a model of care and innovation called Everyone Included. If you are curious, brave and have passion then we truly can solve these issues together.
Update on June 1, 2020
The Patient Safety Movement Foundation was saddened to hear of Michael’s passing on May 30, 2020, due to a sepsis infection. Michael touched the lives of many and he will be deeply missed by our staff, volunteers and global network of partners and patient advocates. Please read Michael’s obituary here.