The Doctors: Hans Rueffert: The Chef Without A Stomach


The Doctors: Stomach Removal Story

Hans Rueffert grew up around great food. His father was the chef at Georgia’s famous Woodbridge Inn, and he spent 20 years as a professional chef. Around his 33rd birthday, he had symptoms that convinced him he needed medical attention.

“They found a tumor right at the junction of my stomach and my esophagus,” he said. In 2005, doctors removed half of each of these organs, but by 2011, they had to operate again and remove the rest of both organs. “When I swallow, it goes straight to my intestines,” he said.


The Drs: Chef Without a Stomach

The Doctors met Chef Hans Rueffert, who lost his stomach and esophagus to cancer.

Hans Rueffert now lives without a stomach, and now has to change his diet, focusing on high protein and low sugar foods. This experience has helped him focus on choosing quality foods, approaching every meal as if it could be his last.

The Drs TV: Stomach & Esophagus Removal

Hans appeared in the studio to talk about his remarkable story, of being a chef without a stomach. He said that he had no idea what was going to happen to him when he went into the hospital, and only found out about the drastic surgeries when he woke up from them.


Dr. Travis Stork explained the procedures that Hans went through in 2005, and again in 2011, which resulted in the loss of all of his stomach and 95% of his esophagus. His digestive process takes food from swallowing almost immediately to his small intestine.

Hans Rueffert: Chef With No Stomach

After the procedure, Hans said he went from weighing 215 pounds, down to 128, getting nutrition from a feeding tube. He said that maintaining a healthy weight is a constant battle for him.

Dr. Travis asked what Hans’s diet is like now, since he doesn’t have a stomach to process large meals. “I graze all day long,” Hans explained. “I eat high protein meals like nuts.”

High Sugar Foods & Hypoglycemia

Hans can’t have high sugar foods, because just like Gastric Bypass patients, this would put him at risk for Hypoglycemic Shock. He said he misses the social aspect of dining as much as the physical process of eating.

This sounds similar to what film critic Roger Ebert has said about his struggles in losing his voice to Thyroid Cancer.

For weeks after his surgery, Hans said he was not allowed to eat anything except ice. After that, he was excited just to visit the hospital cafeteria. This is a shocking story, and it’s amazing that he has learned how to still enjoy some of his favorite foods, despite the dramatic changes he’s been through.


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