Woman Has Stomach Removed After Drinking Liquid Nitrogen At Bar

by AdamS on October 15, 2012

Over the past weekend, an eighteen year old woman from the United Kingdom was rushed to the hospital after becoming violently ill from drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen.  The woman was Gabby Scanlan and she initially complained about shortness of breath and severe stomach pain, before eventually collapsing and being rushed to the hospital.  She had to have her stomach removed by surgeons who stated that she could have easily died from the incident.  She is still in aftercare at the hospital and suffering from the trauma the liquid nitrogen placed on her body.  She may need to go to a private alcohol rehab facility after her stint in the hospital to continue to recover.

Liquid Nitrogens Role in The Food Industry

The use of liquid nitrogen in food and beverage preparation is actually a pretty old process.  It was first used as a way to present food in 1890 as a way to make elegant ice confections, however it is now becoming more and more popular.  Restaurants and bars all over the world are using the chemical in their food and beverage preparation because it not only almost instantly cools whatever it touches, such as glasses or drinks, but also produces a really cool smoky effect that resembles a witch’s cauldron.  Liquid nitrogen cocktails are very popular at fancy bars because they are quite entertaining and make the drinks very cold.

The Dangers of Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen boils at -321 degrees fahrenheit, which means that it can cause instant frostbite when it contacts human tissue.  Nitrogen is a harmless gas that makes up almost 80% of the air we breathe, so the only danger comes from how cold the liquid is.  When the liquid boils and turns into a gas it expands its volume more than 600 times that of its liquid form, which could cause someones stomach to explode if its ingested.  It seems that what happened to Scanlan is that the bartender served her her drink prematurely and she ingested liquid nitrogen causing the chemical to expand immensely in her stomach and forcing her to have to be rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove her stomach.  Doctors are now saying that she was very lucky to have survived the event and it’s a good thing she was brought to the hospital when she was.

Today, liquid nitrogen is not regulated in most countries in the world and it can be used in restaurants and bars to create dishes and drinks that are potentially dangerous. Scanlan ingested Jager and liquid nitrogen which triggered her E.R visit and surgery.  She remains in aftercare at the moment still suffering from severe pain that occurred from her unfortunate incident.  She will likely need to go through private alcohol rehab once she is released from the hospital to continue to recover.  This event has raised the question of whether or not liquid nitrogen needs to be regulated more in countries, especially when it is used for serving food and beverages.

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