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Liquid nitrogen warnings follow serious injury.

A teenage girl had to have emergency surgery to remove her stomach after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen.

Gaby Scanlon of Heysham, Lancs, was out celebrating her 18th birthday with friends in Lancaster when she had to be taken from Oscar’s Wine Bar to Royal Lancaster Infirmary at 11pm after becoming breathless and suffering severe stomach pains. She was diagnosed with a perforated, or pierced, stomach.

Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove Gaby Scanlon's stomach, an operation known as a total gastrectomy, during which the stomach is cut out and the remaining two tubes to and from the stomach, the oesophagus and the small bowel, are connected.

Lancashire Police said that they had been warning other bars in the city about what had happened.

Cumbria public health director, John Ashton, said: "This girl is the victim of an irresponsible alcohol industry that's now competing on gimmicks. Alcohol is very dangerous if improperly handled and so is liquid nitrogen which destroys human tissue."

Nitrogen is a colourless gas which turns into a liquid at temperatures of -196C and below. The "smoke" is tiny water droplets formed when the liquid nitrogen cools and condenses water in the surrounding air. Contact with liquid nitrogen can cause the skin to freeze, resulting in burns. Liquid nitrogen is also used in medicine to remove unwanted skin, warts and pre-cancerous cells, while in industry it can be used as a coolant for things like computers.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says bars, pubs and clubs have a legal obligation to ensure that everything they serve to the public is fit for human consumption.

The FSA's Colin Houston said: "There are safety and handling guidelines around the use of liquid nitrogen, especially in relation to food. It is the business owner's responsibility to make sure that their staff have been trained and are aware of the potential risks of using liquid nitrogen."


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