Aussie uni student fighting for life after accidentally eating rat poison

The young man's family are urgently trying to raise funds to fly him home for lifesaving treatment.

A young man's "dream" adventure on university exchange has taken a tragic turn after he accidentally ate food contaminated with rat poison.

Alex Shorey, 24, was offered the "opportunity of a lifetime" at the University of Queensland to head to Tamkang University in Taipei for a one-year program.

The Toowoomba local was very close to finishing it when disaster struck and he was admitted to hospital in April for being poisoned by superwarfarin — which stops the process of blood from clotting, also known as coagulation, in the body.

A photo of Alex Shorey.
Queensland local Alex Shorey is fighting for his life after accidentally ingesting rat poison believed to be in street food while on exchange in Taiwan. Source: GoFundMe

"Alex’s body is haemorrhaging both externally and internally into his muscles and organs," his aunt Elizabeth Shorey-Kitson wrote in a GoFundMe set up to help get Alex home.

"Whilst we’re unsure exactly how this poisoning occurred, it is suspected that Alex may have picked up some food at local street market or along his travels that was either laced with poison, or had somehow been contaminated with superwarfarin."

Speaking to The Courier Mail, his aunt said "every day his vitals just get worse" due to the delayed treatment he received before finally being admitted to the intensive care unit in Taipei Medical University Hospital.

“Because there was such a delay he’s been bleeding in his organs. His blood is like water," she told the publication.

$172K medical charter flight needed to bring Alex home

After Alex's parents flew over to be with him, they now need to get him back to Australia for "lifesaving treatment" for his condition, which is not available in Taipei. But to do that they need the funds for a medical charter that costs $172,000 or more that isn't covered by insurance.

"Alex is unable to fly on a commercial flight. He needs high pressure oxygen treatment and the support of an ICU team that is only available via a specialised medical flight retrieval service," the GoFundMe reads.

"This is the start of a long recovery for Alex, but this journey can’t properly begin until he’s in the advanced care of physicians here in Australia."

So far almost $122,500 has been raised.

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