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Botched Insomnia Cure Leads to Lawsuit

April 26, 2013 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence - Personal Injury |

A New Jersey man is suing NBC personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, claiming that the doctor's insomnia cure left him "sick, sore, lame, and disabled from third-degree burns," his personal injury lawyers state. Frank Dietl, a 76-year-old man from Southampton, was watching Dr. Oz's 24-Hour Ultimate Energy Boost Plan on April 17, 2012, during which Oz debuted his at-home remedy for insomnia—the "Knapsack Heated Rice Footsie." Oz instructed viewers who were unable to sleep to fill the toes of the Footsie socks with uncooked rice and heat them in the microwave. After 20 minutes of wearing them, Oz explained, the socks would then trick the wearer's body into sleepiness.

On the program, Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, claimed that the Footsie was intended to heat the sleeper's feet, causing the body to "automatically adjust its core temperature. [A]s it gets cooler, you're going to be able to sleep better because your body has to be cold in order to be sleepy," he said. In order to work effectively, the TV host cautioned his audience that the socks should be not be "too hot, just warm" when they were on. He also recommended a cup of Roobios Tea for a good night's sleep.

But when Dietl tried to use the Footsie the night the program aired, he found that Oz's vague instructions worked against his "neuropathy of the lower extremities," a side effect to some cases of diabetes, which results in a lack of feeling in Dietl's feet. Due to his condition, Dietl could not accurately gauge the temperature of the rice in his socks.  He says he only realized that his feet were in severe pain when he got up in the middle of the night and tried to walk while wearing the socks. As a result, Dietl "suffered, still suffers, and will continue to suffer for some time physical pain and bodily injuries," according to the lawsuit he and his New Jersey personal injury attorneys have filed in civil court.

In his lawsuit, Dietl claims that Dr. Oz and his producers should have been clearer in warning people about the risks of trying the Footsie, especially viewers with neuropathy or other conditions that cause a loss of sensation. Dietl argued that in failing to adequately provide this information, Oz neglected a duty to his viewers. According to Dietl's personal injury lawyers, it was "reasonably foreseeable" that someone like Dietl, with previous medical history, would try to use the Footsie after seeing Oz's show.

The third-degree burns that Dietl suffered were so severe that he spent several weeks bedridden, and he is now seeking monetary damages for "the careless and negligent manner in which [Dr.Oz] offered medical advice." Citing the medical bills he has incurred for treatment and his ongoing loss of activity following the incident, Dietl maintains that if Oz had issued a simple warning following his program, he would never have burned his feet.

At New Jersey law firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our expert personal injury attorneys represent anyone who has been injured or wronged by someone else's negligence. Contact one of us for a free, no-strings consultation today.

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