UK nitrogen cocktail drinker has stomach removed

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - British surgeons removed ateenager's stomach to save her life after she drank a cocktailmade with liquid nitrogen during a night out with friends,police said.

The 18-year-old woman, named by newspapers as Gaby Scanlon,complained of breathlessness and gastric pain before beingrushed to a hospital in the northern English city of Lancasteron Thursday where she was diagnosed with a perforated stomach.

Scanlon is currently in serious but stable condition, localpolice said in a statement over the weekend.

"Medical opinion is that this would have proved fatal hadthe operation not been carried out urgently," police said.

When exposed to air, liquid nitrogen creates a dense fog andis used by bartenders and chefs to add an element of visualdrama 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".

Professor of food physics at Leeds University Malcolm Poveysaid liquid nitrogen should not be consumed while still liquid,as it turns into a gas inside the body and causes the stomach toswell and burst.

"The liquid nitrogen would rapidly change into gas and blowthe stomach up like a balloon...the idea that people put thisstuff in drinks is just unbelievable," Povey told Reuters.

The bar which served the drink has stopped selling allliquid nitrogen drinks, said police, who are investigating theincident.

(Reporting By Alessandra Prentice, editing by Paul Casciato)

((alessandra.prentice@thomsonreuters.com)(+44207 5422740)(Reuters Messaging:alessandra.prentice.reuters.com@reuters.net))