Australian Man Dies Agonizing Death after Eating Gecko Jul 6, 2019 12:13:09 GMT -5
Post by JoannaB on Jul 6, 2019 12:13:09 GMT -5
Australian Man Dies Agonizing Death after Eating Gecko
David Dowell (above), a 34-year-old Australian man and father of three, who ate a gecko (a small lizard) on a dare at a Christmas party last year, died a few days later. According to reports, he “rotted from the inside out.”
The party at which he ate the reptile was December 1 and the following day, he developed severe diarrhea and began vomiting and family members called an ambulance. “It was coming out both ends and he was really sick ... the moment he started throwing up and it was green, that’s when they rang the ambulance,” Hannah Dowell, his sister, told reporters. When paramedics arrived the attendants were hesitant to transport him to the hospital initially, but the family insisted, she said.
Three days later, doctors diagnosed salmonella, a bacteria often transmitted through food that results in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps up to 72 hours after ingestion. Normally, the illness persists for around a week and most people recover without treatment. However, in severe cases in which the infection has spread from the intestine to the bloodstream, people can die.
Initially, Dowell’s family thought he had contracted the infection from eating chicken, but then a friend remembered the gecko dare. While no one was sure if he actually ate the gecko, doctors at Mater Hospital, where he was being treated, said it could be the cause of the infection.
Mark Turner, of the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, told the Brisbane Times that a wide range of animals, including turtles, snakes and geckos, can carry the salmonella bacteria in their gut. “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 told the newspaper. “It just goes to show that things as innocent as geckos can carry disease bacteria.”
Though hospitalized, Dowell’s condition worsened: He was bloated, his urine was black and his vomit green, his sister said. “He was just in absolute agony,” she added
“His testicles were swollen up to grapefruits and there was fluid leaking from them and they [doctors] said that was normal,” Michelle Dowell, the man’s mother, told reporters. “It was just all of the fluid in his stomach cavity.”
Dowell’s organs failed and on December 11, he died in surgery. His family is now questioning the care he received. “The surgeon basically said that he needed that [surgery] straight away,” Hannah Dowell recalled. “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.”
In a prepared statement, a hospital spokesperson offered Dowell’s family its “deepest condolences,” saying the case was referred to the coroner, who concluded the hospital had provided “appropriate care.”
The case follows the death of Sam Ballard, who recently died from rat lungworm after eating a garden slug on a dare at a party eight years ago. He died at the age of 27 from complications of the disease, which affects the brain and spinal cord.
Source: Hannah Osborne, Newsweek, July 2, 2019, and Toby Crockford, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 1, 2019..