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Dr. Gott: Hospitalists often seen as strangers

DEAR DR. GOTT: This is in response to the reader who asked about her doctor no longer admitting patients to the hospital. As a staff registered nurse, I can tell you that we love it when a hospitalist is the admitting physician. This means that there is a 24-hour resource right there within the hospital – no calling and waking a doctor in the middle of the night. I feel patients get extraordinary care when there’s someone on site to deal with any situation that comes up. I would in no way seek out a different primary-care physician, but rather celebrate that I would have a specialist available 24 hours a day, not just at rounding time!

DEAR READER: From a medical standpoint, hospitalists are often considered a godsend by physicians, nurses and other hospital staff alike. However, not all patients think the same. Many who have a good relationship with their physician are uncomfortable at suddenly not being able to see him or her. When a patient is in the hospital and not feeling his or her best and/or scared, anxious or worried, someone familiar and comfortable is preferred.

The issue of hospitalists is complex to say the least. They are as competent and caring as physicians who maintain private or group practices, and they are available to assist patients in the hospital at any time. But, again, unless the patient is in and out of the hospital on a regular basis and familiar with the staff or is comfortable with the situation, many will be uncomfortable having a stranger suddenly in control of the situation.

Thank you for offering your opinion on this matter. I hope patients will come around to this increasingly common occurrence because it benefits them just as much, if not more, than their own physician.

DEAR DR. GOTT: If something is gluten-free, does that mean it is also flourless?

DEAR READER: No. Gluten is a protein found in several common types of grains, including wheat, rye and barley. If a product is gluten-free, that means that the product is not made with grains and flours that contain gluten.

To confuse the issue, some gluten-free products are flourless and others are made with flour, such as rice or corn flours that do not contain the protein.

People with a gluten sensitivity or gluten allergy must maintain a strict diet that avoids all foods containing the protein because it can cause intestinal damage and troublesome symptoms, such as abdominal pain, pressure, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. By removing the protein from the diet, the body can often repair most or all of the damage as long as it is avoided.

People who are following my no-flour, no-sugar diet should remain vigilant about gluten-free products because they may contain sugar and other types of flour. Once the weight goal is achieved and if a person wishes to add a few foods that contain flour and/or sugar back into the diet, gluten-free products are an excellent choice.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Losing Weight: An Introduction to the No Flour, No Sugar Diet.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website,