Can a Burger Scar You for Life? Lawsuit Blames Whopper for Causing PTSD

(ThinkStock Photos)
(ThinkStock Photos)

A Washington State deputy will never forget the night his life changed. During a late-night burger break, Edward Blysma pulled into a Burger King drive through and ordered a Whopper. Minutes later he was about to bite into the juicy patty, but not before he removed the bun and witnessed something his won't ever wash away. A big honking phlegm-ball. Suspecting BK's staffers behind the prank and being a member of the law enforcement community, he sent his snack to a DNA specialist (you tax dollars at work, Washington).

Sure enough a burger flipper Burger King, who happened to be on file as an ex-con, was linked to the lugie. Blysma must have thought having the offender arrested would blot out the pain, but he was wrong. So he decided to sue the fast food chain for causing his "mental stress damages."

Though he never actually bit into the burger, the whole notion of a phlegm condiment caused him "ongoing emotional trauma...vomiting, nausea, food anxiety and sleeplessness." Surprisingly, his case hasn't yet been tossed, and is still bouncing around in the court system awaiting a decision.

An experience like this could permanently put you off of drive through dining, maybe even compromise your physical health if eaten, but could it really do psychological damage? It's a hard sell.

Similar lawsuits crop up and are tossed out regularly. Like the guy who sued NBC, claiming he suffered PTSD symptoms after eating dinner while watching "Fear Factor". Burger King did manage to settle out of court with a customer who found a condom in his Southwestern Whopper. The fact that the customer bit into the offending topping made it a viable case. Though he too complained of PTSD like symptoms-"sustained pain and suffering, vomiting, nightmares, mental and emotional distress."

The kind of extreme anxiety that causes debilitating flashbacks is largely associated with war veterans, victims of childhood physical or sexual abuse, survivors of near-death attacks and genocide. Eating a spit burger isn't exactly in the same category. There have been studies linking fast food regulars with PSTD sufferers-the connection there is that bad diets make pre-existing psychological symptoms worse. That probably won't help this deputy's case.

What might is another piece of news on the burger beat. A mom in Canada left a McDonald's burger on her kitchen counter for a year to break her kids of the fast food habit. Once they saw that the patty and bun were so artificial they didn't decompose, they couldn't stomach the thought of hitting up the drive-through again. It's safe to say a bad burger can make leave a serious mark in your subconscious. And that's not always a bad thing.

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