Father-of-three who ate gecko as a dare dies after 10 days of 'absolute agony' as his urine turned black, his vomit green
A father-of-three contracted salmonella and died just 10 days after allegedly consuming a gecko as a dare during a Christmas party last year.
David Dowell, 35, attended the fateful party on December 1 last year and immediately fell sick the day after, but chalked it down to a hangover, according to the Brisbane Times.
By December 3, two days after the party, he was throwing up green liquid, and a day later, doctors at the Mater Hospital diagnosed him with a salmonella infection, and his symptoms were described as "particularly confronting."
Hannah Dowell, his sister, said David was "very bloated, resembling someone six months pregnant." She revealed that his urine was black, his vomit was green, and that after a few days, he had fluid in his lungs.
She said her brother was in "absolute agony" and that "his testicles were swollen up to grapefruits and there was fluid leaking from them."
On December 11, a week after he was diagnosed with salmonella, David died during surgery, with his family stating that he suffered mass organ failure and that he "basically rotted from the inside out."
His family had been searching for answers ever since, and while no one quite knew how David had contracted the disease, the suspicion was that he had eaten some raw chicken infected with the pathogen.
More than half a year later, it seemed as though they finally found a proper answer in a conversation David's partner, Allira, had with one of the friends who was also at the party. The friend said he remembered David eating a gecko for a dare.
It's a theory that does hold credence, according to University of Queensland school of agriculture and food sciences deputy head Mark Turner.
Turner said a wide range of warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals carried salmonella, including turtles, snakes, frogs, and of course, geckos.
However, he did concede that the case was a highly unusual one.
"It’s possible that if the gecko was eaten, as it was being digested, the salmonella was released, but I have never heard of anything like this before," he said.
David's family similarly admitted they could not be sure that he got the disease from a gecko because no one had seen him actually eat the reptile.
"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,'" said Hannah.
"It was a dare, so he might have intended to eat it and then thrown it away," she continued. "At the end of the day, we don’t know whether he actually ate the gecko. David never mentioned it."
Had he been alive, David would have celebrated his 35th birthday last week on June 25. Besides his partner Allira, he leaves behind three daughters — Alyssa, Claudia, and Sage—as well as our siblings.