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Father seeks investigation into daughter's death

November 25, 2011

Photo by Colin Deppen - James Buehler, center, speaks with reporters during a press conference held in front of the Elk County Courthouse on Friday, where he called for an investigation into the death of his daughter, Heather Buehler Armanini, who died from prescription drug-related complications. Buehler is also calling for legislation aimed at deterring doctors who overprescribe potentially addictive and life-threatening drugs.

A local father's three year-campaign of searching for answers and seeking justice in the death of his daughter led him Friday to the steps of the Elk County Courthouse in Ridgway, where he spoke before news cameras and a group of concerned community members who gathered to show support for his cause.
Ridgway resident James Buehler's daughter, Heather Buehler Armanini, died on July 7, 2008 as a result of complications caused by prescription drugs that Buehler said were prescribed to her by an area doctor. Buehler has spent the years since her death unsuccessfully appealing to law enforcement and elected officials for answers and a formal investigation into her death.
Elk County District Attorney Bradley Kraus was previously directly addressed by Buehler in a full-page newspaper ad that appeared in the Aug. 14, 2011 editions of The Daily Press and The Ridgway Record. In that ad, Buehler asked Kraus why he declined to begin an official investigation into Armanini's death and how he intended to deal with prescription drug abuse in Elk County.
In the ad, Buehler said his daughter was prescribed a combination of highly addictive opiates and other drugs containing Tylenol in large doses in the years leading up to her death and an autopsy revealed that his daughter died as a result of liver failure likely caused by acetaminophen toxicity. He said she was prescribed "as much as 180 pills at a time, some with refills totaling into the thousands," by an Elk County physician, and had admitted to her doctor five months before she died that she had a narcotic dependency and was trying to get off narcotic drugs, but continued to receive refills of such prescriptions.
Buehler, along with area attorney Shawn McMahon, organized Friday's press conference in order to draw attention to the issue and hopefully spur legislative and judicial officials to action. Buehler said he has contacted state and local police, D.A. Kraus, the FBI, DEA, his elected officials in both the Pa. Legislature and the U.S. Congress, and Pa. Attorney General Linda L. Kelly. Buehler said he has most recently written Pa. Governor Tom Corbett, who served as the state's most recent attorney general, in hopes that the governor will involve himself on Buehler's behalf.


drug seekers

November 28, 2011 by Eyeswideopen (not verified), 3 years 35 weeks ago
Comment: 291

You have to take into account that the "victim" clearly was seeking out these medications and taking them willingly. Drug addiction is a horrible plague on this society.

To simply blame one side and not the other won't do anything.

response to drug seekers

November 29, 2011 by CaringSister (not verified), 3 years 35 weeks ago
Comment: 292

How do you know she was "clearly seeking out these medications"? Have you read her medical records? I have read her medical records and there are several incidents in them where she discusses, stresses and also cries on how much she does not want to be taking these medications. The physicians in question had her on such a merry go round of drugs that she didn't know how to get off. In fact, the physicians encouraged her to take them. They would state in her medical records that she had a dependacy, but then would hand her a prescription for 180 hydrocodone that same appt. And yes, she willing took them. We, as her family, are quite aware of that. However, she had to take them to be normal. When she tried to get her self off of them...she suffered severly....vomitting, migraines and sleeplessness. She ended up in the ER several times from withdrawl. This is what opiates do to you. She did not receive a "high" from them...she experienced normality. Her body was dependant on them. We look back now and realize the only changes we saw in her was when she was trying not to take them, not when she was taking them. Furthermore, what we are seeking criminal justice for is the fact that on her final trip to the ER she arrived with a count of 2,200 liver enzymes. Normal is less than 60. Again, the physician at question attended to the "victim" and NEVER mentioned to the hospital staff that she was dependant on opiates and that he just prescribed her 180 hydrocodone 48 hours prior. That this could possibly be why her liver enzymes have sky rocketed and why she experiencing terrible symptoms of liver failure. Instead, he ordered for her to have 2 more liver toxic drugs administered to her from the hospital pushing her liver enzymes over 6,000! Then walked away leaving her to go into liver failure causing the rest of her organs to shut down. So yes, there are several sides to blame in the addiction that lead to the death of this young woman.

Get to the bottom of it!

November 26, 2011 by sjs326 (not verified), 3 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 290

Why is it that Mr. Buehler's pleas for an investigation into his daughter's death are adamantly resisted? I applaud his tenacity, and fully support his efforts. As we are all aware, Elk County has a large population of addicted persons, many of them catapulted into a life of dependency by doctors who allow them to remain using prescribed opiates for dangerously long periods of time.

It is long overdue that the drug problem that prevails in our communities, it is a rare family that is unaffected, is properly addressed. God's speed to Mr. Buehler and his attorney, Shawn McMahon.

Elk Co District Atty----

November 26, 2011 by cosa69 (not verified), 3 years 36 weeks ago
Comment: 289

Kraus DROPPED the ball om this one. Politics? I sure hope not as a DEATH occurred here.

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