Major Stuart McCarthy. Afghanistan, 2011. Photo: Contributed
Major Stuart McCarthy. Afghanistan, 2011. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Doctor says army should be ashamed for drug testing

DOCTOR Jane Quinn knows all to well the devastating side-effects Mefloquine can have on a person.

The British Armed Forces administered the neurotoxin to her husband Cameron Quinn in 2001 while he was a serving officer.

He took his own life several years later - a well documented side-effect and reaction to the drug.

Dr Quinn, who is a neuroscientist, has been assisting Major Stuart McCarthy in his battle with the drug's side-effects for the past nine years.

She said the Australian Defence Force owed him a duty of care - the same as it would afford a solider injured in battle.

"Stuart's case is very severe; Mefloquine has seriously affected his cognitive skills and abilities," she said.

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"Essentially he now has issues with balance and thinking - a well known, and medically documented, side-effect of Mefloquine.

Dr Quinn said the drug was administered to Stuart, and thousands of other ADF personnel, in a clinical trial with little regard or any warning about its side-effects.

She said the ADF refused to acknowledge or accept Stuart's condition and the role they played in it.

"The problem is they refuse to accept the diagnosis and until they do he cannot get the treatment he requires," she said.

"There is definitely an institutionalised blindness to the issue which should not come as a surprise when talking about the ADF.

"It is a shame it treats its people like this - they just refuse to accept they gave Stuart a neurotoxin and it has severely affected his health and his life as a result."