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Paying tribute: Michael Seres


The Transplant team at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to a former patient and "loyal friend" who invented a 'smart' ostomy bag to the benefit of millions of patients worldwide. 

Michael Seres sadly died in California, USA of a sepsis infection on Saturday 30 May. He was 51.

In 2011 he became the 11th Oxford Transplant Centre patient to have a rare, life-saving intestinal transplant.

Michael, who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 12-years-old, had more than 20 surgeries, a further transplant, and several bouts of cancer.

Following his pioneering transplant in Oxford, he discovered an entirely new problem – an overflowing ostomy bag, a small pouch that collects faeces.

In 2014, Michael's digitally-enhanced – or 'smart' – ostomy bag invention included a sensor that would alert users to when the bag was full. The invention would go on to make the lives of those living with bowel injuries, chronic gut illnesses, and cancer across the world easier.

Professor Peter Friend, Clinical Lead for Transplantation Services at the Trust, said: "Michael was the 11th patient to receive an intestinal transplant in Oxford, and from that moment he was a wonderful advocate for intestinal transplantation and for the programme in Oxford.

"He was a tireless supporter of other patients, and contributed greatly to medical and public debate about transplantation. He was a charismatic speaker, well-recognised through his invited talks at national and international transplant conferences.

"His energy, determination and vision were remarkable: indeed after his transplant, he went on to found a successful medical device company, a role which led to his relocation to California. He was a loyal friend to the Oxford Transplant Centre, and will be greatly missed by all of us."

Blogging about his health experiences to more than 100,000 people, Michael is also considered to be one of the first 'e-patients' – someone who shares their health experiences online.

Alison Smith, Advanced Transplant Nurse Practitioner at the Oxford Transplant Centre, said: "Michael was a true gentleman. He was always thinking of ways his health and illness journey could benefit others and many patients have come forward for transplantation having spoken with Michael.

"He was a real patient advocate and worked on a government project to improve hospital food and the patient experience whilst in hospital. He coordinated and sponsored the refurbishment of the patient flat for those patients and their relatives joining the transplant journey through his Crohn’s and Colitis charity, and the benefits are still appreciated today.

"He was always available to speak with patients and professionals offering advice and support. He had fantastic family support, and our thoughts are with them at this time."

Pictured: Michael Seres