‘Law & Order: SVU’ Alum Dean Winters Is Constantly ‘in Pain’ After Undergoing Multiple Amputations in 2009

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for the Athena Film Festival)

Actor Dean Winters is known for his roles in such television shows as “Law & Order: SVU,” “30 Rock,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “Oz.”

Television viewers will also recognize him as “Mayhem” in many Allstate commercials. As that trouble-causing character, Winters could take a beating and keep moving without missing a beat.

Real-life, of course, isn’t like the actor’s commercials. In fact, real-life has been filled with pain for the “Law & Order: SVU” alum. In fact, Dean Winters, 57, recently said that he has lived with near-constant pain since 2009.

According to PEOPLE, Winters had to have multiple amputations during 2009. It was a bacterial infection that he caught during June of that year that started his health issues. The actor explained that the bacterial infection was the result of “an illness I had as a kid and it caught up to me.”

This bacterial infection was very dangerous and even sent the actor into cardiac arrest which lasted for more than two minutes. Fortunately for the “Law & Order: SVU” alum, paramedics kept him alive as they took them to the hospital.

“I was dead in the back of an ambulance, and the great doctors at Lenox Hill Hospital [in Manhattan] brought me back to life,” Dean Winters said.

The day before his cardiac arrest, Winters had a fever. However, he decided to try to push through it. The next day, he was worse. And, according to him, he woke up that day “the color gray.”

At that point, the “Law & Order: SVU” alum decided to go to the doctor. It was as he was making his way to the doctor’s office that he passed out.

‘Law & Order: SVU” Alum Dean Winters Survived Gangrene, But Still Underwent Amputations

Once in the hospital, Dean Winters had to undergo several operations. This, however, was not the end of his medical worries. One month after his surgeries, Winters was diagnosed with gangrene. That, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “death of body tissue due to a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection.”

Gangrene typically occurs in the arms and legs, as well as in the fingers and toes. During 2009, “Law & Order: SVU” actor Dean Winters had to have half of one of his thumbs and two toes amputated due to gangrene.

Unfortunately for Winters, the amputations did not bring an end to the pain he felt. In fact, he recently said that the pain has not gone away since 2009. That is 12 years that the actor has lived with near-constant pain. That pain is something he has learned to accept as part of his day-to-day life.

“I haven’t taken a step since 2009 without being in pain. 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,” the “Law & Order: SVU” actor shared.

It turns out that his role as “Mayhem” in those Allstate commercials has an odd connection to Dean Winters. “It’s crazy, if you look in the Webster dictionary, the Old English definition of the word ‘mayhem’ is ‘one with amputations,'” Dean Winters also said.