A bar in England got slapped with a hefty fine equivalent to more than $156,000 after it took responsibility for serving a teen a shot of liquid nitrogen that nearly killed her, and caused her to have her stomach surgically removed.
Gaby Scanlon was out celebrating her 18th birthday on Oct. 4, 2012, with friends at Oscar's Wine Bar in Lancaster. When a bartender learned it was her birthday, he brought the teen a free Jägermeister shot with liquid nitrogen in it.
Scanlon, now 20, said she wasn't advised how to consume it.
"I turned to the man and asked if it was okay to drink. He said 'yes'. Smoke was coming from my nose and mouth. Straight away I knew something was not right," Scanlon said in Preston Crown Court on Thursday.
Liquid nitrogen is sometimes added to cocktails to achieve a "smoking" effect, or as a rinse to chill glasses to very low temperatures. But since the element achieves liquid state at extremely cold temperatures (minus 320 degrees Farenheit), it must be allowed to boil off before it can be consumed safely.
Scanlon's friend testified that she'd heard the bartender tell the teen to "drink it while it’s still smoking."
The court heard how Scanlon felt "an explosion" in her stomach four seconds after downing the shot.
She had to be rushed to the hospital after the freezing liquid perforated her stomach lining. Scanlon spent three weeks in the hospital, during which she underwent surgery to remove her stomach and connect her esophagus directly to her small bowel, according to the BBC.
Doctors said she would have died had the operation not been carried out urgently, the Guardian reported in 2012.
Scalon's attorneys told the court that the young woman still suffers bouts of pain, and no longer enjoys eating.
In June, Oscar's Wine Bar pleaded guilty to one count of failing in the duty of an employer to ensure the safety of persons not in its employment, and admitted they had not ensured the liquid nitrogen shot was safe to drink.
The lawyer representing the bar apologized on behalf of the family that runs it, and said the owners were "mortified" when they learned what happened.
Andrew Dunn, director of the company, said he got the idea to serve liquid nitrogen shots after seeing similar cocktails at a bar in London.
Dunn struck a deal with prosecutors, who agreed not to present evidence against him personally if he agreed to pay an amount equivalent to about $31,000 in court costs.
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