The family of a father-of-three who died after he was dared to eat a gecko at a party are still searching for answers more than six months after his death.
David Dowell, 35, tragically died 10 days after the Christmas party on December 1, 2018.
He was diagnosed with a salmonella infection at the Mater Hospital on December 4, which doctors initially thought was caused by chicken but then later the dare.
When he arrived at the healthcare facility, David was in ‘absolute agony’ and was bloated, resembling someone who was six months pregnant.
His sister told The Brisbane Times it was very confronting to see her brother, who vomiting green fluid, passing black urine and having fluid on his lungs.
‘When I went up and saw him, he was just in absolute agony,’ Hannah said.
Last Tuesday, on what would have been his 35th birthday, his family gathered beside the Logan River, where he often went fishing, to hold a vigil in his honour.
Hannah said David, who leaves behind his partner of 15 years Allira and three daughters Alissa, Claudia and Sage, was ‘a great person’ and ‘one of a kind.’
David’s family are still searching for answers after hearing conflicting accounts from those who were at the party.
According to Hannah, doctors can’t be sure the alleged dare was the reason for David’s death because no one saw him actually eat the lizard.
She said while David may have been encouraged to complete the dare, he could potentially have indicated he was going to eat the gecko but then threw it away.
‘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”,’ Hannah said.
Despite speculation he ate the lizard, Hannah said David’s family may never know for sure given no one who attended the party has confirmed it.
University of Queensland school of agriculture and food sciences deputy head Mark Turner said the gecko theory could have led to a Salmonella infection.
Mr Turner said there are a number of warm and cold-blooded animals that carry the Salmonella bacteria that can lead to poisoning, including snakes, frogs and geckos.
‘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,’ Mr Turner said.
David’s family have since claimed he suffered organ failure because he ‘basically rotted from the inside out’.
Promising rugby player died aged 28 after swallowing a garden slug as a dare at a birthday party
A gifted rugby player who became a paraplegic after swallowing a garden slug as a dare died after an eight-year battle with a parasite infection.
Sam Ballard, 28, spent three years in hospital after eating the garden slug at a party in 2010 when he was just 19.
The ‘cheeky larrikin’ passed away in November 2018 after years of medical complications following the incident.
After eating the slug Mr Ballard fell ill and was told by doctors he had been infected with ‘rat lungworm’.
The worm is commonly found in rats but snails or slugs can be infected when they eat rodent droppings.
Tragically Mr Ballard contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and lapsed into a coma for 420 days, suffering a severe infection to his brain.
Before the dare Mr Ballard had been a promising young rugby player at his high school, Barker College, on Sydney’s upper north shore.