Gaby Scanlon in an undated photo (Photo : Gaby Scanlon)
A British teenager is in serious but stable condition after surgeons removed part of her stomach this past weekend after she drank a cocktail made with liquid nitrogen while partying with friends.
After drinking two "nitro" drinks mixed with Jagermeister while celebrating her 18th birthday at a wine bar in Lancaster on Oct. 4, Gaby Scanlon, 18, was complaining of breathlessness and severe stomach pain before she was rushed to a hospital in Lancaster.
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While her friends also drank the cocktail that night, no one aside from Scanlon reported any ill side effects, the Sun newspaper reported.
While liquid nitrogen can damage human tissue and cause severe cold burns when touched directly, it is safe to breathe at room temperature and is used in high-end eateries and restaurants to add a sense of dazzle to certain foods.
The liquid version of the gas can also be used to cool food and has been used for medicinal purposes, such as freezing warts and pre-cancerous spots
However, Professor of food physics at Leeds University Malcolm Povey told Reuters that liquid nitrogen should not be ingested while still liquid, as it turns into a gas inside the body that causes the stomach to swell and burst.
"The liquid nitrogen would rapidly change into gas and blow the stomach up like a balloon...the idea that people put this stuff in drinks is just unbelievable," Povey said.
The liquid nitrogen in the cocktail, according to Lancaster Police, is used to create a "cauldron effect" as part of the drink, and is neither uncommon nor illegal. The bar which sold the cocktail in question has stopped selling drinks containing liquid nitrogen and police are continuing to look into the matter.
In a statement released to ITV Granada, the management of the bar that served Miss Scanlon the cocktail said they were "tremendously concerned" for the teenager and sent their best wishes to her and her family.