In April of 2012, Dr. Oz shared a home remedy for insomnia with his many TV viewers, called the “Knapsack Heated Rice Footsie”. You pour uncooked rice into the toes of a pair of socks, heat them in the microwave, then put the socks on and go to sleep. New Jersey resident, Frank Dietl was watching the show and decided to try the well-known doctor’s at-home remedy. Dietl suffered from neuropathy of the lower extremities as a result of his Diabetes, and sustained second and third degree burns to his feet as a result of Dr. Oz’s advice. Frank Dietl sued the doctor for neglecting his duty to warn viewers of the possible effects of attempting this alternative cure for insomnia.
The lawsuit that Dietl filed stated he wanted to be awarded monetary damages for the careless manner the medical advice was delivered. Dietl claimed he required immediate medical attention, and was confined to a bed for an extended period of time. “Last week, New York judge Saliann Scarpulla rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that there is no authority to find a duty of care between a television talk-show host and his vast home-viewing audience”. Dietl was unable to convince the court that Dr. Oz breached his duty of care when providing the audience with this particular piece of medical advice.
There is no way Dr. Oz could have been aware of the various medical conditions that may be plaguing his large variety of viewers. However, could there have been some type of warning provided to viewers of the dangers of potentially burning themselves if the rice became to hot in the microwave? Mr. Dietl sustained serious injuries attempting this seemingly simple at-home remedy for insomnia, and was severely disabled for an extended period of time. Dr. Oz was able to beat this lawsuit, but it seems viewers should consult their own physicians before proceeding with any of the suggestions provided on the popular show.