A father-of-three died in “absolute agony” 10 days after he was dared to eat a gecko by friends at a party, his family has said.
David Dowell, from Queensland, Australia, was rushed to hospital last December and later diagnosed with severe salmonella. Mr Dowell’s family said he began vomiting green bile, his urine turned black and fluid leaked from his stomach, which had bloated so much that he looked like he was six months pregnant.
More than half a year on, his family have said they are still searching for answers over what caused his death after hearing conflicting reports about what happened at the party. “There has been no evidence that he actually ate [the gecko] because there was: ‘Oh yeah I saw him eat it’. And then: ‘No, I didn’t see him eat it,’” said his daughter Hannah.
The family said when he first fell ill, paramedics were reluctant to take him to hospital as they believed he only had a bad bout of gastroenteritis or a hangover. Less than two weeks after he was dared to eat the gecko, Mr Dowell died in surgery. Mark Turner, deputy head at the University of Queensland school of agriculture and food sciences, said the gecko may have been the cause of the death because a wide range of animals can carry salmonella, such as turtles, snakes, frogs and geckos.