Dr. Oz is being sued for allegedly giving bad advice on his hit television show.
The popular doctor told viewers about a "knapsack heated rice footsie," a home remedy which he claimed could help cure insomnia, reports the New York Daily News.
But after trying the insomnia cure, a New Jersey man is putting his foot down. He claims in a lawsuit that the "heated rice footsie," as recommended by Dr. Oz, caused grotesque burns on his feet.
Frank Dietl, 76, says the footsie left him debilitated with third-degree burns, instead of feeling energized as Dr. Oz promised. He says he was confined to his bed for weeks after trying the cure.
Dr. Mehmet Oz allegedly touted this home remedy last April, in a segment called "Dr. Oz's 24-Hour Energy Boost." Oz is said to have encouraged viewers to fill the toes of a pair of socks with uncooked rice, warm up the rice-filled socks in a microwave, and then slip them on, reports the Daily News. Dr. Oz told viewers that the heat would divert blood into the feet.
Apparently, the only warning Dr. Oz gave viewers was not to let the socks get too warm in the microwave. However, Dietl says that this warning was not good enough.
Dietel claims he suffers from neuropathy, or nerve damage, to his feet. He argues that Dr. Oz should have provided an additional warning that his "rice footsie" remedy could be dangerous to people who suffer from his impairment.
Whether Dr. Oz may be liable may depend upon whether he even owes a duty of care to viewers like Dietl in the first place. While doctors clearly owe a duty of reasonable care to their patients, Dr. Oz is more a TV personality than Dietl's personal physician. Without a relationship between the two, Dr. Oz may be able to avoid liability completely.
Then again, because Dr. Oz promotes himself and his expertise, an argument could be made that he owes a duty of care to all his viewers.
It should be noted that Frank Dietl may have some experience dealing with TV personalities. His brother Bo Dietl, an ex-NYPD detective, is a regular guest on cable TV news shows.
- Dr. Oz sued over home remedy disaster (United Press International)
- Oprah and Dr. Oz Settle in Acai Lawsuit (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- Dr. Phil, Shoplifting Confessions & Federal Charges (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Defects in Warnings (FindLaw)