Date PostedOctober 10, 2012

Responsible Service of Alcohol Update: Shocking Poisoning Case linked to Cocktail

A shocking case of alcohol poisoning has occurred in Lancaster City, England involving a teenage girl who almost died after ingesting a nitrogen laced cocktail. However whereas most other alcohol poisoning cases result in the stomach being pumped, this incident was much more serious.

The young woman required emergency surgery to remove her stomach after the cocktail she consumed was laced with the liquid nitrogen chemical. The woman, who is just 18 years old, was on a night out with friends in the Lancaster City Centre one week night when the incident that almost claimed her life occurred.

The girl was overcome by a feeling of breathlessness soon after consuming the drink and then developed severe abdominal cramps which resulted in the girl being rushed to hospital. Once there, doctors established that the young woman had a perforated stomach and needed emergency surgery. The stomach was partly removed and officers launched an investigation into the incident.

Apparently liquid nitrogen is not uncommon in some venues however the particular venue involved has had to stop selling alcohol with the chemical.

Read this post that was posted on popular British website Standard.co.uk :

The girl, from Heysham, remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition, the force added.

Officers have launched an investigation into the incident.

A number of witnesses at the night spot where the drink was brought are being interviewed by police and the licensed premises has stopped selling drinks containing the chemical.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: “Medical opinion is that this would have proved fatal had the operation not been carried out urgently.

“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.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/teenagers-stomach-removed-after-drinking-cocktail-8201509.html

It has since become evident that the practice of using liquid nitrogen in cocktails is not uncommon but extremely dangerous if not done correctly according to medical experts who use the chemical to freeze warts and perform cryosurgery in a controlled environment.

Scores of people and experts have since come out in criticism of the practice because nitrogen is dangerous in its liquid form because once ingested it turns into gas in the stomach. Many bars and restaurants in Oz are also using nitrogen to freeze their glassware.

This post I found on Abcnews.go.com which explains just how dangerous the practice is:

Liquid nitrogen is about minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit and, if not used properly, can cause permanent frostbite or cryogenic burns. It is used primarily to flash-freeze food or to make ice cream. It also turns fresh herbs to powder and can freeze alcohol.

 But in today’s scene, mad scientists of mixology use it for dramatic effect to uber-chill glasses so that when served, the cocktail emits a steamy vapor.

 Bartenders have to be trained and take the “utmost care,” according to Sven Almenning, managing director of the Speakeasy Group in Australia, whose staff is well-trained in the art.

 “A guest should never be served a drink where the nitrogen still is in liquid form, as this means it will turn into gas inside the person’s body,” he said. “This is akin to trying to consume an open flame from a lit Blazer cocktail.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/liquid-nitrogen-cocktail-injury-steams-debate-flashy-drinks/story?id=17425885

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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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