Lancashire teenager, Gaby Scanlon had to undergo emergency surgery after she ingested a cocktail made with liquid nitrogen. The incident occurred while she was out celebrating her 18th birthday.
Scanlon was out with some friends on Thursday 4th October, after drinking the cocktail she became short of breath and began experiencing severe stomach pains. She was rushed to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary where doctors diagnosed her with a perforated stomach and performed the emergency surgery. Police consulting on the case say that the teenager would have died if doctors had not removed her stomach. They performed a total gastrectomy – cutting out the stomach and connecting tubes from the esophagus and the small bowel together.
People who have to undergo this type of surgery can still lead a normal life, they are still able to eat and drink but must do so in smaller amounts and take vitamin supplements to ensure they get enough nutrients.
Scanlon, 18, was taken from Oscar’s wine bar at 11pm and whilst police have not officially named the establishment where she got the cocktail, Oscar’s have stated that they have stopped selling the drink.
The police statement said:
“The premises involved have fully co-operated with all agencies and have suspended drinks involving liquid nitrogen. The investigation is still in its early stages and we are still interviewing witnesses to establish the full facts.”
Doctor John Ashton, the director of public heath for the Cumbria area said
“This girl is the victim of an irresponsible alcohol industry that’s now competing on gimmicks. Alcohol itself is a very dangerous thing if improperly handled and liquid nitrogen is a toxic chemical. It destroys human tissue.”
Liquid nitrogen is an interesting substance and its use in food and drink is controversial; it can cause cold burns to the mouth, throat and stomach if ingested incorrectly and it kills human tissue. When the frozen vapor hits the stomach its temperature increases quickly and releases big volumes of air that can cause the stomach to burst or perforate.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have said that pubs, bars and clubs are under legal obligations to make sure that anything they sell is fit to be consumed by people. FSA spokesman Colin Houston said that there were safety and handling guidelines in place regarding the use of liquid nitrogen in food and it was the business owner’s responsibility to ensure that their staff received the proper training in regards to this.
(Via Daily Mail)