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Australian student flown back from Taiwan after poisoning

Qld student back in Australia after poisoning

A sick Australian student has touched down in Brisbane to be treated for ingesting rat poison after his family raised money for a specialist charter flight from Taiwan.

The flight carrying Alex Shorey, 24, landed in Brisbane on Wednesday night after stopping in Darwin and Mount Isa, as investigations into his illness took a sinister turn.

Mr Shorey was transferred to the clinical toxicology unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, where he was in stable condition on Thursday.

He was only weeks away from the end of a year-long university exchange in Taiwan’s capital Taipei when he fell seriously ill several weeks ago.

The university student from the Queensland city of Toowoomba might have inadvertently ingested food contaminated with superwarfarin, according to an online fundraiser set up by his aunt Elizabeth Shorey-Kitson.

Mr Shorey’s family originally suspected contaminated street food might have been to blame. But police since have ruled out accidental contamination, and more sinister causes are being investigated.

“It’s all speculative at the moment. All that’s been confirmed is the poison,” Mr Shorey’s uncle Ross Shorey-Kitson told the Seven Network.

Superwarfarins are a potent type of anticoagulant commonly used in rat poisons.

Ms Shorey-Kitson said her nephew suffered haemorrhaging and a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to treatment in hospital and the family wanted him back in Australia for further care.

His father Stephen Shorey told the Seven Network he told his son to seek seek medical attention when he noticed blood in his urine. Alex Storey arrived at the hospital with “terrible abdominal pain, [and] nausea.”

There, he went into hypovolemic shock – when severe blood or other fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body, causing organ failure.

Mr Storey’s family told the network he was “bleeding heavily from the nose … bleeding into his muscles and into his joints”, and his lungs were filled with fluid.

His condition worsened into cardiorespiratory collapse six days later, after a severe allergic reaction to a vitamin K treatment in hospital.

Mr Storey was unable to fly home on a commercial flight. His medical charter flight was secured after raising more than $200,000 through donations.

Ms Shorey-Kitson said her nephew was still critically unwell and required oxygen and IV medication.

The specialised medical charter flew at a lower altitude to ensure there were no further medical complications and to support Mr Shorey’s respiratory system, she said in a statement on the site.

“As Alex’s condition will now require long-term rehabilitation. He needs to get home to Australia to be around his family,” Ms Shorey-Kitson said.

She again thanked people who sent donations and messages of support, and the Taiwan health staff who treated him.

“We are extremely grateful to Alex’s medical team for their expertise and the care they’ve shown in treating him. We thank you all so much for everything you’ve done, we will be forever thankful.”

-with AAP

Topics: Taiwan
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