A man who supposedly ate a gecko as a dare during a Christmas party died 10 days after, having contracted a salmonella infection.
David Dowell from Brisbane, Australia was alleged to have eaten the gecko on the 1 of December during a Christmas party. The next day he felt unwell, but chocked it up to being hungover. However, his symptoms got worse, causing concerned family to contact emergency services.
Then, 10 days after eating the gecko, the 34-year-old father of three died in “absolute agony” after being diagnosed with a salmonella infection. Six months have passed, and his family described how David “basically rotted from the inside out.”
He was taken to the Mater Hospital on the 4 of December, where staff diagnosed David with a salmonella infection.
Initially, his family believed that the salmonella infection had been caused by chicken, however, his partner Allira, recalled the dare from the Christmas party when he ate the gecko.
His sister Hannah had said, “She [David’s partner] told the doctor and the doctor said ‘that could have been it’. But there has been no evidence that he actually ate it because there was: ‘Oh yeah I saw him eat it’. And then: ‘No, I didn’t see him eat it’. It was a dare, so he might have intended to eat it and then thrown it away. At the end of the day, we don’t know whether he actually ate the gecko. David never mentioned it.”
Hannah described her brother’s symptoms, saying how he became incredibly bloated – to the point that he looked like someone who was six months pregnant. His urine had gone black, and he was vomiting green. After several days, there was fluid built up in his lungs.
Hannah recalled, “When I went up and saw him, he was just in absolute agony. Mum was asking them [doctors] because he had a blockage, ‘can’t you just operate?’ They said no.”
Michelle, David’s mom, had told The Sydney Morning Herald, that there was fluid leaking from her son’s stomach.
“His testicles were swollen up to grapefruits and there was fluid leaking from them and they [doctors] said that was normal, it was just all of the fluid in his stomach cavity.”
David died during surgery, having suffered mass organ failure. The family has questioned some of the decisions made by the staff the Mater Hospital.
Hannah has stated, “The surgeon basically said he needed that [surgery] straight away. We also asked why they didn’t give him a catheter and they said they didn’t think of that. We have asked for pain relief for David…he was put into a coma because they couldn’t control his pain. We never really got to say goodbye to him. It was like they didn’t really care. The moment he got moved into the intensive care unit, that’s when they got serious.”
Hannah added, “I want justice for David…or just answers. You don’t ever think anything like this could ever happen to you and then it does.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Mater Hospital have released the following statement:
“Mater offers its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. David Dowell. Mr. Dowell’s case was referred to the Coroner, who determined Mater had provided appropriate care and no further action was required. Mater is unable to comment further on the case due to patient confidentiality.”
The hospital has reportedly been unable to go into detail regarding David’s case due to issues surrounding patient confidentiality.
Hannah has warned others to watch for the signs of salmonella and beware of how serious they can be.
Our condolences go out to the family.
If you or someone you love, have experienced a bereavement and would like to confidentially speak with someone contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.