At a Christmas party on December 1, Father-of-three David Dowell, from Brisbane, Australia, ate a gecko after he was dared too.
David felt unwell the next day but blamed this on being hungover.
Soon his symptoms worsened, and concerned family members called emergency services.
The 34-year-old died in ‘absolute agony’ 10 days after the consumption of the gecko and was diagnosed with a salmonella infection.
His family have described how David had ‘basically rotted from the inside out’ after contracting the infection.
His sister Hannah Dowell described her brother as being ‘just a great person and the kids have lost one of the best dads ever’.
“Then on Monday, it was coming out both ends and he was really sick and the moment he started throwing up and it was green, that’s when they rang the ambulance.”
“When they got there, the (paramedics) didn’t even want to take him (to hospital). They said he just had gastro and his partner said: ‘no, you’ve got to take him; it’s not just gastro’.”
David was diagnosed at the hospital with a salmonella infection on Tuesday, December 4.
Thinking chicken was the cause of the infection, David’s partner, Allira, remembered he had eaten a gecko as a dare while at the party.
“She 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.”
David became very bloated and his urine turned black and his vomit appeared green. He even had fluid on his lungs.
“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.”
David’s mother Michelle, said:
“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.”
Unfortunately, the father of three died during surgery, after suffering suffered mass organ failure.
His sister Hannah stated:
“The surgeon basically said that 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 had to ask 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.”
“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.”
Mater Hospital released a 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.”