Saturday, 27 October 2012

Heysham teen speaks out after nitro drink incident

Gaby Scanlon - still in hospital after
'nitrogen drink' incident

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Heysham teenager Gaby Scanlon, who had to have her stomach removed and spent three weeks in hospital after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen, has spoken about her ordeal.

The Daily Mail reports Gaby, an A-level pupil at Ripley St Thomas Academy, was celebrating her 18th birthday with friends at Oscar's wine bar and bistro in Lancaster on 4th October. She drank two shots of the liqueur Jagermeister, which were laced with liquid nitrogen.

Some of her friends also has similar drinks, the paper reports.

In an interview with the Mail, Gaby revealed that everything was fine after the first drink, but the moment she drank the second she felt "excruciating pain".

"I'd been warned by the barman the drink might make me a bit gassy, so I didn't think too much of it, but then my stomach started to expand and I felt sick."

She was taken to Lancaster Royal Infirmary by friends, where
doctors discovered a large perforation to her stomach had no choice but to remove her stomach and connect her oesophagus directly to her small bowel, an emergency operation which saved her life.

Gaby now faces a life on vitamin supplements and liquid replacement meals and the newspaper reports her family are considering making a civil claim against the bar for compensation.

"I feel angry that these theatrical cocktails seem to be aimed at younger people," said Gaby, "especially 18-year-olds who are just legally able to drink and want to go out and try these things, but it's not worth it."

"I try to stay strong," she added. 'I'm an optimistic person. It could have been very much worse and I'm very grateful to be alive, but it should never have happened in the first place."

Lancaster City Council is currently investigating the incident.

Oscars has stopped selling all liquid nitrogen drinks - as have, reportedly, all other bars in Lancaster.

In a statement made after the incident, Oscar's wine bar said it was "tremendously concerned" about Gaby and had sent its best wishes to her family.

When exposed to air, liquid nitrogen creates a dense fog and is used by bars to add an element of visual drama to dishes or to freeze things quickly, such as ice cream.

It is also used for removing warts and has industrial uses. Contact with flesh can cause cryogenic burn or "frostbite".

Liquid nitrogen should not be consumed while still liquid, as it turns into a gas inside the body and causes the stomach to swell and burst.

"Medical opinion is that this would have proved fatal had the operation not been carried out urgently," a Lancashire Police spokeswoman said shortly after the incident occurred.

"The premises involved have fully co-operated with all agencies."


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