michaelseres
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Michael’s Story

Read Michael’s story as he talks about the impacts of living with Crohn’s disease and how it inspired him to create a solution.

I am permanently connected to my mobile phone like so many others so I just assumed there would be technology to help me.

On waking from fifteen hours of surgery the one thing that I remember clearly was feeling this bag attached to the outside of my stomach.

Four and a half years ago I woke up in intensive care having become only the 11th patient to undergo a rare intestinal transplant at The Churchill Hospital Oxford.

My journey to that point started over thirty years earlier when as a twelve-year-old I was diagnosed with the incurable bowel condition known as Crohn’s Disease.

Some twenty-five surgeries later and intestinal failure I found myself with only 40cm of small bowel left and transplant was my only option. On waking from fifteen hours of surgery the one thing that I remember clearly was feeling this bag attached to the outside of my stomach.

As part of the transplant I had an ileostomy which is where part of your bowel is brought to the outside of your stomach and your bodily waste collected in a bag known as a stoma bag.

I had spent the best part of thirty years on various medical bags but with a stoma you lose control of the very thing you take for granted, going to the toilet. The nerve endings are cut and you have no idea how much comes out and when. This results in frequent leaks and spills and one of the most common ways for healthcare professionals to measure gut functionality is to know what is coming out and when. At the time the only solution was to empty your effluent in to a jug and manually measure. For me there had to be another solution.

I am permanently connected to my mobile phone like so many others so I just assumed there would be technology to help me. I looked at all the bag manufacturers and saw how much work they were putting in to the bag, it filters and new functions but still did not satisfy what I was looking for.

Thanks to the wonders of social media, I was able to contact patients all around the world to ask what their solutions were and the overwhelming response was just to get used to it. So I searched online and found various different components from different parts of industry. Flex sensors that came from the gaming market, accelerometers from mobile phones and Bluetooth module and thanks to the power of video and a friend I hacked together my first sensor.

That sensor became the start of 11Health. 11Health then grew in to a connected medical device company. We now have a fully functioning sensor that is CE marked, MRHA approved a class 1 device and is FDA cleared. Currently we are growing fairly rapidly in the US but still navigating the wonders of our NHS system.

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Incontinence Management & PRevention through Engineering and ScienceS