Police investigating after 18-year-old suffers perforated stomach during night out with friends in Lancashire.
The Guardian, Sunday 7 October 2012 13.16 EDT
A teenager has undergone emergency surgery after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen, according to police.
The 18-year-old from Heysham in Lancashire reported feeling breathless after drinking the liquid during a night out with friends on Thursday, Lancashire police said in a brief statement.
She was taken to Lancaster Royal Infirmary and diagnosed with a perforated stomach. Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove a section of her stomach, thought necessary to save her life. The teenager was in a serious but stable condition, police said.
A Lancashire police spokesman said the force was working with other agencies and the premises which sold the drink, which has not been identified. He said: "The investigation is still in its early stages and we are still interviewing witnesses to establish the full facts. The premises involved have fully co-operated with all agencies and have suspended drinks involving liquid nitrogen."
Liquid nitrogen has been used increasingly in recent years as a method for making increasingly elaborate cocktails, having first been pioneered in culinary use by the likes of Heston Blumenthal. The liquid version of the gas, which vapourises at a temperature of -196C, is an extremely effective way to flash-freeze substances and has a series of medical uses.
In cocktails and cooking it is simply a method – for example to chill glasses instantly with a crowd-pleasing waft of grey vapour, or to freeze ingredients – and should never be ingested, as this can cause serious cold burns.