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On an episode of CHD.TV’s “Doctors and Scientists,” Heather McCarthy spoke out against the incentivization of medical treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA), lack of informed consent and the irresponsible over-medication of her son by his medical providers.
McCarthy, a practicing attorney with advanced degrees in English literature and business administration, told host Brian Hooker, Ph.D., about the tragic loss of her son, which she said stemmed from irreversible adverse effects caused by the prescription drug, Levaquin.
McCarthy described her son, O’Shea, as a young man who “studied science at Purdue” and “loved to play and produce music.”
While home from college during the summer of 2010, McCarthy’s son was given a “very high” prescription for Levaquin, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, as prophylaxis for minor surgery to correct his deviated septum.
McCarthy said her son knew something was not right with his prescription and told friends and family, “I think this is messing with my mind.”
McCarthy described the issues her son experienced after taking Levaquin, such as high anxiety, heart palpitations and insomnia. His symptoms only worsened with time, and by the spring of 2011, O’Shea dropped out of school, returned home and would not leave his bedroom.
In April 2011, O’Shea started receiving treatment at the local mental health center and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. McCarthy described this as the beginning of a “two-year slow walk” toward her son’s death.
“Looking back, my son didn’t have any mania, symptoms or indications of bipolar disorder,” McCarthy said. “My son wanted to be well. He was very compliant with all of his treatment because … he just wanted to get back to school and get his life going again.”
McCarthy recalled that after taking Levaquin, her son “wasn’t functioning like a human being. He was robotic. Those drugs really take the essence of who you are. We lost him a lot before his death.”
O’Shea passed away in 2013.
In 2015, McCarthy testified at an FDA meeting about her son’s experience. Shortly after, “fluoroquinolone-associated disability,” an irreversible condition, officially was recognized.
“Black box warnings for Levaquin came out in 2015,” Hooker said.
Angry with the healthcare system and what she said was negligence on the part of her son’s medical providers, McCarthy stated:
“All anyone had to do was look away from their computer and look at him. This treatment was completely destructive for him. He went from looking like a healthy young man to someone unrecognizable. I have no doubt in my mind it was these drugs.”
McCarthy added, “I attribute his death to completely destructive treatment choices and the patient-doctor relationship — there really wasn’t one because he wasn’t listened to.”
Watch the full episode here: