David Dowell takes a challenge of eating a Gecko in a Christmas party, December 1. Dowell, a father of three, starts feeling unwell the day after but he ignored the sign thinking it’s just a hangover. His condition grew worse. His concerned family decided to take him to the emergency.

Thirty-four years old David died after 10 days. Upon diagnosis, they found a salmonella infection in his body. After the infection, his body ‘basically rotted from the inside out’ according to his family members.


David By The Bus


Talking with The Sydney Morning Herald, his sister, Hannah Dowell described him as: ‘just a great person and the kids have lost one of the best dads ever.’    

She further explains his symptoms:

“Then on Monday, it was coming out both ends, and he was 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 the hospital). They said he just had gastro and his partner said: ‘no, you’ve got to take him; it’s not just gastro.’

David Eats Geko

Tuesday, December 4, David was taken to Mater Hospital, where doctors diagnosed the salmonella infection. His family assumed it might be a chicken that caused it. Later on, his brother recalled the little dare they had in the Christmas party.

Hannah said:

“She [David’s partner] 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 Eats Geko

He was extremely bloated like a 6 months pregnant woman. He vomited green fluid and his urine turned black.

Hannah recalled:

“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 added on the fluid leaking out:

“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.”

After a mass organ failure, David died in the middle of the surgery. The family was a bit skeptical about the hospital staff’s decision.

His sister says:

“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.”

David Eats Geko

A statement released from Mater Hospital right after his death explains:

“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.”

The hospital couldn’t show the details due to issues on patient confidentiality.

Hannah advised others to be very careful about what they eat and also treat any infections like salmonella before it’s too late.

May David’s soul rest in peace.

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