A teenager has had her stomach removed to save her life after drinking a cocktail made with liquid nitrogen.
Gaby Scanlon was celebrating her 18th birthday at a bar in Lancaster when she had the drink and began to feel breathless.She developed severe stomach pain and was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a perforated stomach.
Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove her stomach and save her life. Miss Scanlon, from Heysham, Lancashire, is in a serious but stable condition, police said.Friends said on Twitter she had texted them since coming round from surgery at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.The bar which sold the drink was named by ITV News as Oscar’s in Lancaster.
It issued a statement saying it was ‘tremendously concerned’ for the teenager and that its ‘wishes go to her and her family’. Last month the bar posted a picture on its Facebook page of a cocktail which contained liquid nitrogen called the Pornstar Martini.Sold for £8.95 with a shot of champagne, the bar called it ‘amazing’.Police said the bar has stopped selling all liquid nitrogen cocktails after last Thursday’s incident.
A spokesman added: ‘The premises involved have fully cooperated 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.’
Liquid nitrogen, which evaporates at minus 196C, has become increasingly common as a method for instantly freezing food and drinks or creating an impressive cloud of vapour – techniques popularised by television chef Heston Blumenthal.
But it should only ever be used as a method to chill glasses or freeze ingredients as it can cause internal damage when inhaled or ingested.If swallowed, the liquid can freeze parts of the mouth, throat or stomach, causing severe cold burns which destroy the tissue.
The liquid can also rapidly boil inside the stomach, creating a huge amount of vapour which could potentially cause damage such as perforations.Several of Miss Scanlon’s friends sent messages of support on Twitter. Kirsty Carlyle wrote: ‘Finally the end to the most horrific week. praying for you [Gaby], making us even more proud everyday. toughest person I know (sic).’ Megan Rowlands wrote that the evening Miss Scanlon was hospitalised was ‘the worst day of my life’, adding ‘things are going to get better. [Gaby] we love you so much.'
Academics have explained the dangers of drinking liquid nitrogen.Professor Peter Barham, of the University of Bristol's School of Physics, said: 'Liquid nitrogen is simply the harmless gas nitrogen which has been cooled to such a low temperature that it becomes a liquid. It is intensely cold (-196°C) and if not used properly can cause frostbite or cryogenic burns. If liquid nitrogen is added to a liquid such as an ice cream mixture, it cools the liquid rapidly while it boils away and produces a cloud of vapour.
'As with any very hot or very cold liquid proper safety measures must be taken – just as no-one would drink boiling water or oil or pour it over themselves, so no-one should ingest liquid nitrogen.'