Dean Winters opens up about how much pain he’s in constantly after amputations

Chronic pain can be unbearable to live with. Oz actor and Allstate Insurance spokesperson, Dean Winters, has been suffering from chronic neuropathy and pain for over a decade. In 2009, Dean had a bacterial infection that caused him to go into cardiac arrest. He developed gangrene and had to have two toes and half of his thumb amputated. Dean has since had at least ten surgeries. He told his story to Page Six:

“I haven’t taken a step since 2009 without being in pain,” the 57-year-old actor exclusively told Page Six. “I’ve got neuropathy on, you know, on a whole different level where I can’t feel my hands and my feet. But if I stepped on a pebble, it’s like I go through the roof.”

In June of that year, Winters contracted a bacterial infection and went into cardiac arrest for over two minutes during an ambulance ride across Central Park. Paramedics revived him, but he suffered through multiple operations and gangrene, which resulted in the amputation of two toes and half of a thumb.

“It’s a very weird dichotomy. It’s like, it’s very hard to figure out. Nothing you can do about it,” he said. “I’ve been sucking it up because, you know, the alternative is not a place where I want to be.”

It’s crazy if you look in the Webster dictionary, the Old English definition of the word ‘mayhem’ is ‘one with amputations.’”

[From Page Six]

I have suffered from chronic pain since my time in the military and it is debilitating. I could not imagine having amputations and phantom pain neuropathy. I love watching Dean as Mayhem in the Allstate commercials, he has some of the best comedic timing. Dean will always be that douchebag guy in Sex and the City. I was heartbroken to learn about the pain and suffering Dean has been going through. I can’t believe that some random bacteria infection wreaked so much havoc on his life. I also can’t believe he coded for two minutes. That must have been scary. The fact that he continues to work despite the constant pain is a testament to the love of his craft. The only thing that gets me out of bed despite my back, neck and joint pain is my love of photography. I send Dean all the love. Hopefully, science will find a breakthrough for those of us who suffer from chronic pain.

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48 Responses to “Dean Winters opens up about how much pain he’s in constantly after amputations”

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  1. Oliphant says:

    Poor guy! I loved him as Liz lemon’s shady ex

    • OliveFull says:

      The Beeper King!

    • Christina says:

      He was dio good as the beeper king!

      I love this actor so. He’s so talented at everything he does.

    • smcollins says:

      He was on 30 Rock? Now I have to go back and fully commit myself to watching it (only seen episodes here & there, wasn’t a faithful viewer). He was great on Oz and of course as Mayhem (I miss those commercials). I remember he was in an early episode of Sex and the City as Carrie’s f*ck buddy whom she tries to actually date but turns out they’re only good together in bed, not in the “real” world.

    • Lady Keller says:

      He’ll always be Dennis Duffy to me. He was one of my favorite parts of 30 rock.

    • minx says:

      I’ve been re-binging 30 Rock, what a great, great show. Never fails to make me laugh, which I really need. Dennis Duffy is such a dbag but Winters still makes him somehow lovable.

    • Laura Bee says:

      He was really good in Brooklyn 99 as well, playing “The Vulture.”

      • AMA1977 says:

        Love him as The Vulture and as Dennis Duffy. He’s one of those character actors that is the best part of any scene he’s in. I’m sorry to hear that he’s hurting and admire his positive attitude. I hope advancements are made in the treatment of chronic pain that can help all who suffer from it.

  2. Tw says:

    Oh the nostalgia. I remember back in the day when I first moved to NYC and he would booty call my friend Ipek, who went on to rip off the idea for Kiini, the crocheted bikinis. It’s a small world.

  3. fluffybunny says:

    He was on GMA3 yesterday and his mom actually calls him Mayhem.

  4. Mireille says:

    Still handsome.

  5. Monica says:

    I adore him. I had no idea of his health issues. I’m so glad he’s still with us, still working, and able to keep some perspective. And the same to you, Oya.

    • Carnivalbaby says:

      Co-sign everything here. Loved him since Oz..sending good vibes to Dean and Oya today.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    Ryan O’Reily from Oz

  7. J ferber says:

    I feel bad for him. I wish he could have pain management that helped him. Sending good vibes his way.

    • Suzybontime says:

      The only thing that helps is Opiates which get you addicted. I wish they could make something better too. If your on opiates too long they start to make you depressed. I feel like this is what takes the life of so many people that are in pain.

      • J&A’s Mom says:

        That’s completely, dangerously false. Under the guidance and supervision of a reputable pain management doctor, opiates can be taken safely and effectively. I’ve taken opiate pain medication for a decade; my dosage has gone down, NOT up, as the medication has calmed my nervous system down and no, they don’t make me loopy, depressed, a “zombie”, addicted or anything else. If I didn’t tell people, no one would know I have pain and take a strong opioid besides my doctor. It is PAIN that makes one depressed, not opiates. I’m proof that one can live well with chronic pain through reasonable pain management. These lies spread about pain management and esp opioids are dangerous and adversely affect the way chronic pain patients are treated. People spout stuff like “everyone on opioids will eventually be zombies “, “everyone will have to increase their dosage over time”, “everyone gets addicted”. None of this is true. Opioids are strong medications that can be addictive, and patients need to evaluated carefully, yes, but spreading lies and denying people management of their pain helps no one. Educate yourself.

      • Deeanna says:

        There are numerous chronic pain patients who use opioids responsibly as part of their pain treatment regimen. The medication allows these people to get through their day. They are zombie-like, they are not high, they are not euphoric. And they are not “addicted”.

        Mindlessly repeating nonsense helps no one.

  8. Shanaynay says:

    He will always be Dennis from 30 Rock to me! Love him and wish him the best.

  9. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I thought he was the f*ck buddy – not the ball scratcher? 😂

    I feel for chronic pain sufferers and hope for a breakthrough in treatment too. It’s good he’s sharing his story. I had no idea.

    • Driver8 says:

      He was Carrie’s fuck buddy. Ball scratcher dated Charlotte. Completely different actor. I hate that I know all this, lol

      • LaUnicaAngelina says:

        Haha! Thanks for confirming! 😂 I’ve watched the series numerous times and keep a soft spot for it. If I spot one of the SATC flings on other shows, I point them out to my husband like he cares. 😂

      • Driver8 says:

        I do that too! I’m constantly pointing out actors in shows to the Hubby and he sort of rolls his eyes. But it’s so fun!!

      • AmyB says:

        @Driver8 You are not the only one that knows all the “other” characters on SATC lol! I know them all too! It is bad, very bad how well I know this series LMAO! He was the fuck buddy, and when Carrie tried to make him more, it failed miserably – taking him out to sushi haha!! I loved Dean Winters in Oz too; so sad to hear of his health issues.

    • Oya says:

      The fact that I had just changed that before reading this is hilarious. The fact that we actually know this is bad. lol

  10. Nadine says:

    The vulture !!! (Brooklyn 99)

    • Caroline says:

      YES!! My favorite of his roles!

    • sally says:

      That’s the first thing I think of when I see him too. And that Allstate Insurance commercial where he played the raccoon that has been gifed and memed to death xD
      Poor guy though.

  11. Nuks says:

    Love him. I call my destructive cat Mayhem because of his ads. Now I’m going to go watch everything else he’s done and happily pay if needed.

    I hope everyone with chronic pain finds ways to motivate through it. ❤️💪

  12. Coco says:

    I remember reading an interview with him (AVClub I think), where he told the story of how he had been cast, and possibly filmed the pilot, in a new show around the time of his health crisis. The network then announced he had to be recast due to creative differences. Winters was like, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t call being clinically dead a creative difference.’
    I hope he finds some treatment or relief for his chronic pain.

  13. Cee says:

    Chronic pain is hard to live with. I have Morton’s neuromas in both my feet, plus other issues like sesamoiditis, and a big toe that was injured due to my running (I can only move it if I do it mechanically, with my hands) and nothing works. My left foot is so messed up I actually developed fascitis, too. I’m usually icing my feet to numb the pain, physical therapy only works temporarily (I’ve done more than 10 rounds of it) and surgery is tricky because doctors can’t gurantee the pain will subside and sometimes it makes it worse.
    Painkillers are tempting but also really dangerous, so I stay away from them.

    • Noo says:

      Hi Cee I am so sorry that sounds really awful. I am curious if you are in Canada and have been referred to a physiatrist by your doctors as their clinics are the ones specializing in chronic pain? They do a lot with backs necks knees and hips but maybe some specialize in other pain areas? Husband works in healthcare and I never knew physiatry was a medical specialty until his most recent job. Good luck to you.

  14. Annesco says:

    To me he was The Beeper King on 30 Rock, then he was with Olivia Benson on SVU, then he was the Vulture on Brooklyn 99. It was a real roller coaster of feelings about the characters but I was always glad to see him

  15. Little Termagant says:

    RE chronic pain. Listen to podcast ‘Science Vs” on chronic pain — it is their most recent episode. The psychologist they interviewed has a book/workbook on his method. It’s fascinating and has been helpful for me.

  16. Vilberm says:

    My husband suffers from neuropathy and massive amputations (losing portions of all his limbs) thanks to a misdiagnosed strep infection that ended up in septic shock. Not knowing the signs of sepsis can be deadly – see Wishing him tons of recovery

  17. Kathy Kack says:

    He is sooo handsome. LOVED him in Oz

  18. olliesmom says:

    I love him in everything that he’s in. He’s so underrated as an actor. You would never have any idea what kind of hell he was going through.

  19. mimic says:

    I co-sign what others have said about how great he is in a wide variety of roles. I also recommend a series called “Wayne,” which was an original You Tube production that is now on Amazon Prime. He plays a dirtbag dad, and is soooo good! The whole series is great!

  20. FHMom says:

    I’m a fan of his. I remember reading about his health crises and was shocked. Best of luck to Dean. I’m glad he’s still working.

  21. Billie says:

    I love every performance of his I have seen,

  22. Katiekate says:

    If I recall correctly, Tina Fey kept bringing him back as Liz Lemon’s ex because they were friendly and he needed the insurance (and obviously he was great). Nowadays, he’s a recurring on Fey’s Girls5eva. I love it when he pops up on things.

  23. phlyfiremama says:

    I had NO IDEA he had gone through all that! The only thing I have ever seen him in is Oz: O’Reilly MADE that show!!

  24. Joanna says:

    I feel so sorry for people who have chronic pain. It must be hell to live with it. Thanks for your military service Oya!