The VICE Guide to Right Now

A British Wine Bar Was Fined $200k After a Teen Lost Her Stomach Drinking Liquid Nitrogen

Don't drink poisons, kids.

by Manisha Krishnan
Sep 18 2015, 6:43pm

Gaby Scanlon, whose stomach had to be removed. Photo via Facebook

Read: White People Explain Why They Feel Oppressed

A British wine bar is paying the price for serving a teenager a liquid nitrogen shot that fucked up her stomach so badly she needed to have it removed.

Gaby Scanlon, now 20, thought staff at Oscar's Wine Bar and Bistro in Lancaster were hooking her up when they gave her the Nitro-Jagermeister shot for free on her 18th birthday in Oct. 2012. But seconds later, she was doubled over in pain, experiencing what felt like "an explosion" in her tummy.

"Immediately on consuming the drink she was taken violently ill, retching and vomiting and smoking from her nose and mouth," said prosecutor Barry Berlin, speaking at this week's sentencing hearing for Oscar's, which resulted in a fine of £100,000 or about $204,000 CAD. (The bar has pleaded guilty to failing in the duty of an employer to ensure the safety of persons not in its employment.)

A bar manager reportedly saw smoking liquid nitrogen cocktails being served at a London hotel and was "intrigued by the dramatic effect," so he introduced them at Oscar's.

But according to evidence presented in court, the bar was "loose" about informing patrons of the risks of drinking liquid nitrogen, telling them that it was OK to consume after ten seconds—an arbitrary number.

Scanlon testified that her server said it was fine to down the $8 shot while it was still smoking. She took his advice.

"Straight away I knew something was not right."

The birthday girl was then taken to a local hospital where her stomach and small bowel were surgically removed in order to save her life. She said she experiences ongoing pain stemming from the incident.

Attorney Kevin McLoughlin represented the bar at the hearing. He said owners, who seemingly had never heard of Google, are "sorry."

"At no time did they see anything warning them of the risks of ingestion."

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.

Manisha Krishnan
liquid nitrogen
Gaby Scanlon
Barry Berlin
teens drinking
losing your stomach