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A cocktail left a 30-year-old Gurgaon-based businessman with a hole in the stomach.
The food world is always buzzing with a new fad, the latest ‘it’ drink, or fusion dishes made from exotic ingredients. The newest entrant on the block in the food circles is liquid nitrogen, originally made popular by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. Liquid nitrogen is increasingly being used in drinks, ice creams, and even in food. However, it has to be used and ingested carefully, else it can cause significant damage, as a Gurgaon businessman recently found out.
The said person ordered a drink at a Gurgaon pub that was made with liquid nitrogen. Instead of waiting for the smoke to dissipate, he gulped the drink down. A few minutes later, he complained of extreme uneasiness. He was then rushed to the hospital, by which time he was severely bloated. Blood tests showed that severe lactic acidosis had taken place, which is usually a result of oxygen deprivation. Liquid nitrogen can expand to a large extent, and can create an oxygen deficiency where it expands. This is what happened in the stomach of the Gurgaon businessman. A mouthful of liquid nitrogen could easily be about 20-25 litres of gas, which can cause substantial harm.
The doctor who operated upon the businessman at Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon said that his abdominal cavity showed large free air, which means that there was a tear in the stomach or intestines, and that it looked like ‘an open book’. After the highly complicated surgery, the man was kept on a ventilator for 3 days. It’s been 2 months since the incident and the man has, since then, recovered, but the scars and the scare will remain forever.
Since liquid nitrogen is a freezing agent, it would be wise to take a few basic precautions while ingesting it. When you go to a pub, bar, restaurant or any other establishment where liquid nitrogen is used, make sure their bartenders/servers are well-trained to use it. ALWAYS wait for the liquid to evaporate before having a sip/bite. Ideally, the person attending to you should wait at your table till the evaporation has happened, and only then should they allow you to have it.
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