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Overmedication: A Dangerous, All-Too-Common Way to Restrain the Elderly


At the behest of on-site or on-call doctors and physicians’ assistants, most nursing home residents follow strict medication regimens that shouldn’t be altered or discontinued without a thorough consultation. Unfortunately, many nursing homes suffer from a lack of accountability that can lead staff members to make questionable dosing decisions. By all accounts, the problem of “over-medication”—especially with potentially dangerous sedatives and mood stabilizers—is growing. Learn more about how to spot and address over-medication at nursing homes.

Spotting Over-Medication

You don’t have to be a doctor to recognize potentially dangerous over-medication practices at your loved one’s nursing home. In this setting, psychiatric medications tend to be over-prescribed more often than other types of drugs. Look for the following symptoms in your family member or loved one:


  • Sudden or worsening confusion or disorientation
  • Balance problems
  • Erratic or violent behavior
  • Withdrawal or lack of recognition
  • Fatigue or oversleeping
  • Unexplained medical emergencies or complications

These problems can often appear and worsen within days, so it’s important to remain vigilant.

Causes of the Problem

Typical “causes” of over-medication include:


  • Nurses who work irregular shifts of 12 hours or more
  • Staff shortages that result in new nurses being assigned to unfamiliar patients
  • High-stress workplace conditions that lead to a “medicate first, ask questions later” mentality among staff membersSobering Statistics

    The problem of over-medication isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting worse. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over 50% of all anti-psychotic prescriptions made to nursing home patients may be unnecessary. At least 20% of all nursing home prescriptions are dispensed for longer than the recommended course or in excessive doses. Some pharmaceutical companies have already admitted to improperly marketing mood stabilizers and anti-psychotic drugs to nursing home doctors, but industry experts believe that the practice remains widespread.

    Recourse for Family Members

Family members should make it clear to nursing home doctors and nurses that their loved ones must be treated with dignity and respect. If you suspect that your family member is being “controlled” with inappropriate drug doses, put pressure on the facility’s management team to investigate the issue. If this doesn’t work, contact an experienced NY attorney group that has prosecuted more nursing home abuse cases than any other firm in the state. Reach us at our website, or call (716) 681-7190.


Save Lives by Understanding OSHA RequirementsPrior to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970, workers had little protection to keep them safe while on the job. OSHA works to maintain regulations that aim to keep the workplace as safe as possible.

The Purpose of OSHA

OSHA strives to keep workers safe by maintaining a strict set of rules and regulations about workplace safety. While citations are issued in the event of a violation of these regulations, OSHA makes avoiding citations through the education of managers, supervisors and employees a priority.

Successfully Introducing OSHA Regulations

Employers can help keep the workplace safe by making employees aware of how to safely conduct business. Posting relevant information about health and safety in the workplace in highly-visible areas is an ideal way to convey information to anyone who may be on the job site.

Any questions about safety standards should be directed to an OSHA official. Questions may be asked by contacting OSHA directly or waiting for a safety inspection of the premises by an OSHA official.

Employers must regularly review their workplace safety standards to be sure to comply with any changes in regulation or in the operations of the business.

Educating Employees About OSHA

OSHA requirements cannot service as a means of prevention in a workplace if the employees on the job are not aware of these regulations. Even if managers and supervisors ensure that requirements are adhered to on their level, employees who are unaware of OSHA regulations may violate these standards throughout the course of a work day. While employers should educate their employees about OSHA requirements that apply to them, it is also the responsibility of the employees to be proactive about maintaining a safe work environment.

Click here and start reviewing OSHA requirements to keep the workplace safe.

Anyone injured in a workplace accident needs to consult a personal injury attorney to discuss their rights. Brown Chiari attorneys in Buffalo can help victims of workplace accidents understand how negligence on the part of another individual entitles the victim to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. One sign of negligence that is instrumental in many personal injury cases represented by a lawyer in Buffalo is a failure to follow OSHA standards.

If your loved one lives in a nursing home, do not ignore signs of abuse or neglect. Older Americans with limited physical, emotional and mental abilities are most likely to suffer at the hands of a nursing home worker. If you see any of the following signs of abuse or neglect, contact an attorney in Buffalo immediately.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse:

  • Bruises, welts, abrasions or injuries that neither the loved one nor the nursing home staff can explain.
  • Unusual behavior, loss of appetite and excessive crying.
  • Fear of being left behind at the end of the visit.
  • Physical restraints.
  • Medication inconsistent with what has been prescribed.
  • Stories about mistreatment from loved one.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect:

  • Dirty linens and unkempt room.
  • Excessive bed sores or sores that continue to worsen.
  • Weight loss that might indicate food or water deprivation.
  • Worsening of common ailments.
  • Dazed or confused state that might indicate mediation is not being properly dispensed.
  • Poor personal hygiene or soiled clothing.
  • Obvious safety hazards in the room or throughout the nursing home.
  • Understaffed nursing stations or lack of medical services.

Personal injury attorneys in Buffalo specialize in nursing home abuse and neglect cases to get compensation for mistreatment of your loved one. Law firms work with doctors and law enforcement to shut down nursing facilities with excessive complaints of abuse or neglect. Call lawyers in Buffalo, NY at Brown Chiari to help your loved one today.

Improperly-loaded trucks are a major cause of highway accidents. Strict regulations have been laid out by the state of New York as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to protect citizens from the dangers of unsecured loads or overloaded trucks. At the very least, a truck driver can be fined for improperly loading a truck; at worst, a cargo shift or flying debris can cause serious accidents and result in fatalities. Injuries resulting from a truck driver’s failure to comply with state and federal standards require the services of experienced Buffalo personal injury attorneys at Brown Chiari.

Proper Cargo Handling

To prevent load shifts, chemical spills or objects falling off a truck, drivers are required to take the following safety precautions before getting on the road and periodically throughout their run:

  • Working Loads. Tiedowns used to secure loads, including chains and straps, have working load limits. Truckers are only allowed to secure a load that is half the aggregate working load limit of the tiedown for optimal safety.
  • Securement. General requirements for securement of loads include making sure the load is evenly distributed and tied down to avoid load shifts or falling objects. Detailed safety requirements are in place for specific types of loads, including pipes, logs and automobiles.
  • Load Checks. A driver must check the load within the first 50 miles of the trip and every three hours or 150 miles driven thereafter, making necessary adjustments to the load to comply with safety standards.

Personal Injury Attorney in Buffalo

If you’ve been injured because a truck driver failed to properly load and secure his or her cargo, you need a lawyer in Buffalo, NY with the experience and skills to get you the compensation you deserve. At Brown Chiari, our legal team will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine exactly who is at fault, as you can potentially receive damages from several companies depending on who the driver’s employer is, who owns the truck and who loaded the cargo.

Medical malpractice can be devastating to victims and family members and can leave patients with a significant, permanent decrease in quality of life. Many victims and their loved ones fail to report malpractice because they believe that there is nothing that can be done about the damage that has been suffered. Not only does failing to report medical malpractice prevent a victim from receiving the compensation they need to pay for added medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering, but letting malpractice go unreported allows negligent medical practitioners to continue working with patients.

The list below provides an overview of the signs of malpractice so that individuals know when it is appropriate to seek the assistance of a lawyer in Buffalo.

  • Medical professionals who are negligent typically ignore questions that patients ask about their health. One of the most important roles of a medical professional is to provide information to patients so that patients are able to feel comfortable and involved in the care they receive.
  • If the treatment options that have been provided by a medical professional are not working for a patient, the doctor may not be providing adequate care. While it is possible that treatment will not work because of a serious medical condition, doctors should keep patients informed and suggest other options if there is no apparent improvement in the health of a patient.
  • Patients have the right to request a second opinion or ask for diagnostic tests to verify the conclusion of a medical professional. The denial of a patient’s request for certain treatment options or tests may indicate medical negligence. Although a doctor has the ability to advise a patient against certain treatment options or diagnostic tests that they may deem unnecessary, opinions about treatment and care should be discussed thoroughly with patients.

Consult attorneys in Buffalo, NY at Brown Chiari to discuss your rights if you or a loved one is a victim of malpractice. Ignoring the issue means suffering the consequences of loss of income, overwhelming medical bills and an overall decrease in quality of life. Attorneys in Buffalo are able to inform victims of their rights and provide advice regarding the best course of action to take.

Construction-related injuries occur frequently, and the effects can be devastating. Every day, more than 6.5 million individuals work at construction sites across the nation. Most injuries allow workers to return to their jobs within a month, but many injuries cause permanent damage. In fact, more than 1,000 workers die due to construction-related injuries annually. Due to the complexity of workers’ compensation laws, third-party liability standards and statutes that prevent workers from suing their employers, anyone who is injured on the job should contact personal injury attorneys in Buffalo. Here are a few of the most common injuries that occur on construction site:

Falls are the most common occupational injuries in the construction field. Falls due to defective scaffolding, ladders and dangerous structures can cause broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis and a variety of severe injuries.

Hazardous conditions and dangerous products are found throughout construction sites. Defective wiring, chemicals, welding equipment and general construction products can cause life-threatening injuries and permanent disabilities.

Excavation is hazardous if it is not done correctly or if trenches are not properly marked. Trench collapses cause one dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries each year.

Due to the wide variety of parties involved in construction projects, it’s difficult to determine who is liable. That’s why it’s important for injured workers to contact an attorney in Buffalo. A qualified attorney with experience in the construction industry can help individuals file workers’ compensation claims and third-party lawsuits against equipment manufacturers and other companies. If you’ve been injured at a local construction site, contact the law firm of Brown Chiari today to talk to experienced lawyers in Buffalo, N.Y.

You may think that a drunk driver is the biggest danger you could encounter when you take your family for a drive, but studies show that sleep-deprived drivers may as well be drunk. Fatigued truck drivers in particular are one of the greatest menaces on the road. Federal safety regulations are in place to ensure that truckers do not become fatigued. If you’ve been in an accident because a truck driver failed to comply with these safety standards, you need personal injury attorneys in Buffalo at Brown Chiari to aggressively pursue damages.

Hours-of-Service Regulations

Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers can only be on duty for 14 hours in a single day, and only 11 of those hours can be spent behind the wheel. The remainder of that on-duty time can be spent on administrative tasks, loading and unloading. After a 14-hour shift is completed, the driver must be off duty for the next 10 consecutive hours, at least eight of which must be spent in the sleeper berth.

Sleep Deprivation Among Truckers

Some drivers can’t or won’t sleep for eight hours in the sleeping berth. This becomes a problem if another shift follows the 10-hour break. A 24-hour period of little to no sleep will impair a driver’s reaction time and level of alertness the same as if he or she were drunk. Sleeping five hours or less every night for a week produces the same effects, which are comparable to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.1%, which far exceeds the legal limits.

Attorneys in Buffalo, NY

If your life or that of a loved one has been devastated by the recklessness of a fatigued driver, you need an experienced team of lawyers in Buffalo, NY on your side to help you navigate the complex legal process. Contact Brown Chiari today to help you get the compensation you need to put your life back together.

Choosing the perfect nursing home for a loved one is a complicated process that requires consideration of certain factors including the quality of care, the availability of activities for residents and whether other residents report feeling comfortable in the home. A complication that makes this process even more difficult is the fact that nursing home abuse is a real danger. Fortunately, there are some signs to look for to determine whether abuse is likely before it even starts.

• Ask about how caregivers are evaluated prior to being hired. Caregivers should be able to pass a background check and should display the ability to stay calm under pressure. Questions about the length of shifts and the number of patients assigned to each caregiver are also essential.

• Observe residents in the nursing home to see if they show any signs of abuse. Signs of abuse include noticeable injuries, listlessness and withdrawn behavior. While some residents of the facility may display withdrawn behavior or a lack of energy due to medical conditions, observing this behavior in several residents is a clue that there could be a problem with the facility.

• Research the turnover rate of caretakers and other staff members. A high turnover rate indicates a low level of employee morale and is often a sign of poor quality of care.

• The number of available activities may indicate whether a nursing home has a problem with abuse. Abusive caretakers will often neglect patients and avoid taking time to plan activities to improve the quality of life of their patients.

• Ask residents how they feel that they are treated while in the nursing home. It is possible that caretakers and other staff members speak differently to visitors and family members. Abusive nursing home employees typically do not show their true personalities unless they are alone with residents.

Personal injury attorneys in Buffalo can help families when their loved ones have become victims of nursing home abuse. Consulting with a Brown Chiari attorney in Buffalo will help families understand their rights in relation to putting an end to elder abuse and receiving compensation for medical bills associated with injuries suffered as a direct result. Anyone who believes that a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse should contact a lawyer in Buffalo, NY as soon as possible.

Prescription drugs can vastly improve the quality of life of individuals dealing with illness, but there are risks that should be taken into consideration before a person begins taking any medication.

Information about drugs that are currently available to patients can be found at the MedWatch website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Website visitors can simply enter the name of a drug into the search bar to discover whether there have been any warnings or reports related to the drug. Searching a prescription drug also provides information about noted drug interactions that could result in a serious adverse reaction in a patient.

Although the FDA reports that 97% of the drugs approved since the mid-1990s are safe and still available to patients, approximately 3% of the drugs that were approved during this time period had the potential to cause harm to patients.

Patients are reminded to stay proactive about their medical care. Instead of assuming prescription drugs are as safe and effective as television and magazine ads make them appear to be, people should do research to discover whether there are any alerts or reports related to these drugs. Individuals are advised to discuss risks with their doctor prior to putting pressure on a medical professional to prescribe a certain medication.

Anyone who has taken a drug and suffered an adverse reaction that has significantly impacted their quality of life should contact an attorney in Buffalo. Lawyers in Buffalo, NY can discuss legal options with a person who has been negatively affected by a prescription drug. Although patients may believe that they do not need to take legal action, a lawyer in Buffalo can explain that compensation obtained as a result of a lawsuit can be used to cover medical expenses and loss of wages that occur when a patient experiences illness or injury because of a prescription drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans that an outbreak of meningitis that is primarily concentrated in the Northeastern United States has been tied to a tainted batch of steroids that were administered to patients via injection.

The contaminated medication was specifically sourced from New England Compounding Center (NECC), a pharmaceutical manufacturer located in Framingham, Massachusetts. The Food and Drug Administration has concerns over a failure on the part of officials responsible for ensuring drug safety to follow up when NECC had violated regulations in the past.

Although 23 people across the country have died as a result of the outbreak, there has currently only been one reported case of meningitis has been directly linked to the injections in New York. This case was not fatal to the patient.

Symptoms of the fungal meningitis associated with the contaminated steroids injections include stiffness in the neck, fever, headache, mental fuzziness and nausea. However, some medical professionals have noticed that patients are showing signs of meningitis due to a fear of contracting the illness. Anyone with symptoms related to fungal meningitis should seek medical attention immediately in order to determine whether the symptoms are truly related to the disease.

People with a compromised immune system are more likely to develop fungal meningitis after exposure to the disease than people who were healthy prior to exposure.

People who have loved ones who have been exposed to the fungal meningitis strain should be aware that this type of meningitis is not contagious. Only bacterial and viral strains are able to be transmitted from person to person.

Anyone who suspects that they may have been a victim of the contaminated steroids injections should contact Brown Chiari for legal counsel. Brown Chiari is a law firm in Buffalo providing services to individuals with personal injury claims. Meningitis is a serious illness, and the way in which people were infected with the disease warrants the assistance of a lawyer in Buffalo. The attorneys at Brown Chiari are already investigating the incident in order to better serve clients affected by contaminated medicine.

Victims of serious bullying at school and in extracurricular activities have become prevalent in mainstream news. The possibility of having a child who is terrorized by a bully can weigh heavily on the mind of a parent or guardian. Learn how to identify the signs that your child is being bullied and how to know when bullying warrants the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in New York.

Monitoring Your Child’s Safety Regarding Bullies

Some children fail to tell their parents or guardians about bullying because they are embarrassed about the situation or scared that the bullying will just get worse. Identifying signs of bullying is an important tool in keeping kids safe.

Listed below are some common signs that a child is being bullied:

• Asking to stay home from school or other activities on a regular basis

• Becoming irritable when someone asks if something is wrong

• Becoming withdrawn from other children and activities that were once enjoyed

• Significant weight gain or weight loss in a short period of time

Should You Take Legal Action Against Bullies?

It is possible for bullying to get so out of control that legal intervention is necessary. Contact New York injury lawyers if any of the following actions listed below are observed or suspected:

• Physical injuries that are a direct result of an altercation with a bully. Keep in mind that the local police should be contacted immediately if a child is assaulted by a bully.

• Serious verbal threats of violence are made

• A bully is sexually harassing the victim

It is important to seek the advice of an injury lawyer in New York immediately if bullying has become severe enough to be considered a legal issue.

Personal injury lawyers in New York know the statistics. During 2009, eight teenagers between 16 and 19 years old died every day from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.

There are a few obvious reasons why teen drivers are four times more likely to have a collision than older drivers. Inexperienced drivers have more crashes in their first year of driving than at any other time. When teens ride together, the risk increases. Teen drivers are far less likely to wear seatbelts. Teens are also more likely to drive while they’re distracted. Eating, adjusting the radio, talking to friends or texting can all cause teen drivers to lose their focus on the road. If your son or daughter has been injured in a car crash, it’s important to call an injury attorney in New York at Brown Chiari.

Parents can have a profound influence on their children’s driving habits. Talk to your children about how important it is to drive safely. Emphasize that they are responsible for their own safety, their passengers’ safety and the safety of other drivers. Explain that distractions increase the risk of an accident.

Talking is not enough, however. Parents have to set a good example for their children to follow. Make it a point to refrain from using your cell phone while you’re driving. New York injury lawyers would advise you to tell your children about the most dangerous driving situations for young drivers. You should also be sure to drive carefully at all times. Lead your children by your example.

Parents can also take advantage of the new “Parents Are the Key” tools and resources at cdc.gov/parentsarethekey. Have your children sign a safe driving agreement. You can also join their Facebook page for safe teen driving.

As a parent, you influence your children more than anyone else. Take advantage of your position as a trusted family member, and teach your children to drive safely by talking with them and setting a safe example.

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