Legal Guide

Dr. Oz Sued over Natural Remedy Sleep Tip

Not since Dr. Phil, has another one of Oprah’s guests been able to experience such popularity with their own program as Dr. Mehmet Oz on the “Dr. Oz Show”. He simply has a way of presenting medical information in a Layman’s terms (a feat unto itself) while incorporating light humor and infectious charm. Indeed, it can be pretty hard to keep people interested in things like why you should eat more vegetables or what you can do to keep your endocrine system thriving for an hour every day and yet, somehow Dr. Oz does it—all the while avoiding a lot of drama and scandal.

That is probably why it caught so much media attention when it was discovered that he is currently being sued by a man in New Jersey who is claiming that he has third-degree burns on his feet, “thanks” to following a recommendation for insomnia on Dr. Oz’s television program.

On March 15, Frank Dietl, a 76-year-old man, filed a lawsuit with the Manhattan Supreme Court stating that after he tried Dr. Oz’s tip of filling the toes of socks with uncooked rice, warming them in the microwave and then placing your feet inside of them for 20 minutes. According to Dr. Oz, by doing so, the heat from the rice will draw blood to your feet and will help you to drift off to sleep.

Dietl did this, but it would appear that he did not get the kinds of results that he was looking for. As a matter of fact, what he ended up with instead were third degree burns on the soles of both of his feet, leaving him as what he describes as being both lame and disabled.

There is a catch to this, though. On the program that aired on April 17, 2012, Dr. Oz did state that when using this natural sleep remedy that is known as the “knapsack heated rice footsie”, one should use caution when it comes to overheating the socks. It would make sense that he would put that on public (televised) record being that some socks are thinner than others and some microwaves heat faster than others. Therefore, this could cause some people to wonder if Dietl heard that part of the show; although, it does bear mentioning that he diabetic, suffers from neuropathy and therefore, his feet are not as sensitive to certain sensations (including heat) as others are.

Furthermore, according to Dietl, his issue is that he feels that Dr. Oz had a responsibility of telling his audience of what the risks could be as it relates to using this particular method; that it was not clearly articulated on the show and because of that fact, he experienced the medical consequences that he did.

For now, Tim Sullivan, the spokesperson for the “Dr. Oz Show” stated that they stand by the fact that the content on the show is both safe and educational.

Still, being that there are all kinds of medically-related lawsuits that are getting media attention right now (including Yaz lawsuit news), there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll hear Dr. Oz be even more thorough on his television program.

One burned patient, one miscommunication, one lawsuit, is more than enough.

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