Improving lives one patent at a time: Naples man invents colostomy cleaning system

Ken Schena, a successful businessman and former managing director of MetLife, decided to retire in 2002 after a rewarding career. About a year later, the 64-year-old Schena went to his family doctor in Naples for his annual physical exam. A routine colonoscopy revealed a carcinoma on Schena’s colon. The diagnosis caught Schena off guard.

“It was the first time I ever had a colonoscopy,” Schena said from his home office in Naples. His doctors recommended he undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments simultaneously. He also underwent colorectal surgery at Physicians Regional Hospital in North Naples. After surgery, Schena underwent another postoperative round of chemotherapy to eradicate his cancer.

Schena credits the diligence of his Naples doctors quick response to the reason he survived his colorectal cancer. “My mother died of colorectal cancer, and they discovered it on a Friday, and she died on a Saturday,” Schena said.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States today. Recent estimates for a diagnosis such as Schena’s are 102,900 new cases of colon cancer in 2010, equaling approximately 1 in 19 men at risk for the disease, and 1 in 20 women at risk of colorectal cancer over the course of their lifetime.

There are family traits that can place patients at higher risk of colorectal cancer, and certain ethnicities also are at a higher risk of the disease. Beginning at the age of 50, a colonoscopy can detect the early signs of this deadly disease and is recommended as part of a patient’s routine physical exam.

From colorectal surgery to invention

When Schena awoke from his colorectal surgery, he had a permanent colostomy in place on the side of his body.

“You have no idea about the psychological downer it can be to wake up with this pouch on your abdomen that collects fecal matter. It is psychologically devastating at first,” said Schena. And when Schena experienced the steps necessary to clean the pouch system, he felt the system was archaic and unacceptable. It did not allow a reasonable level of hygiene for his personal standards.

Schena began to think about the design of his colostomy cleansing system and with a background in engineering, and successfully building two high performance race cars in his younger years, set out to improve and reinvent how the system works for people.

“I took the best product I could find that had some good characteristics I liked, and modified it in my garage. With the help of my son Blaine, we fabricated several different designs, which I would later test,” he said.

Eventually, Schena and his son came up with a final design and patented the invention, calling it the E-Z Clean System.

“It is so gratifying to know that I am helping people every day who are living with ostomies,” Schena said.

He said his device can help patients of all ages live active lives without time consuming steps involved in the care and use of their old systems. His patent process and invention took more than eight years to complete. He is now a proud patent owner of four patents and continues to work on new technologies every day.

“To use the system, one sits forward or backward on the commode and drops the pouch drain into the toilet bowl. The inlet is then opened and the water feed system is attached. Turn the water valve on, depress the thumb trigger, and in 30 seconds to a minute, the pouch is totally cleaned. The body waste drops into the toilet bowl and is flushed away,” explained Schena. For those who are on the run with work and family, Schena also developed a water bottle attachment to clean the system, which is very portable.

“It normalizes a person’s life so they are not a slave to the system anymore,” Schena said.

Outside of his inventions, Schena is married to Virginia, and the couple just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past June. He is a father to four grown children and a proud grandfather, and an active Rotarian in Naples. Schena is also the president of the Ostomy Support Group in Naples, which meets at the Teleford Building of Naples Community Hospital on the second Wednesday of every month.

To learn more about Ostomy Support in Naples visit www.ostomysupportnaples.com

To learn more about Schena Ostomy Technologies visit www.ostomyezclean.com/pages/ordering.html

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features