Gurgaon businessman gulped down a drink laced with liquid nitrogen, makes a hole in his stomach
NEW DELHI,July4: A 30-year-old businessman had to get part of his stomach removed after he gulped down a drink laced with liquid nitrogen, which burnt a hole in his innards.
Businessman Sumeet Prasad (name changed) was partying with friends at a Gurgaon pub. They ordered the pub’s latest offering – a cocktail with liquid nitrogen to make it freeze instantly. Prasad quickly downed it, even before the smoke coming out of the drink could evaporate. Within minutes, he started feeling uneasy. By the time Prasad was rushed to hospital, he had turned restless and drowsy, and his abdomen was grossly bloated. Blood tests revealed severe lactic acidosis, that is, high level of lactic acid in the blood which commonly results from oxygen deprivation in the body.
A CT scan showed large free air in the abdominal cavity due to perforation of either stomach or intestines. “Perforated abdomen is fairly common. But it is usually 0.5 mm to 1 mm. But in this case, the abdomen looked like an open book,” Dr Amit D Goswami, who attended to Prasad at Columbia Asia hospital in Gurgaon, told TOI.
The incident took place on April 13. Dr Goswami, who operated on Prasad to fix the hole in his stomach, sought his family’s consent for ‘death on table’. “I was not hopeful of his survival,” the doctor said.
After the family gave its consent, surgery was started around 2am. The stomach was open like a book in middle and lower portion, and lots of food and dirty fluids had dripped into the abdominal cavity, doctors said.
“Perforations are generally repaired by stitching, but in Prasad’s case, we had to plan differently. Because of the large perforation and unhealthy tissues surrounding the perforation, the surgical team decided to remove the lower portion of the stomach and artificially join the remaining portion with small intestine,” Dr Goswami said.
He added that after surgery, the patient was kept on ventilator for three more days and later discharged from hospital uneventfully . “Now, it is two months since the surgery and he is doing absolutely fine,” Dr Goswami, a consultant bariatric surgeon, said.
Dr Mriganka S Sharma, a co-surgeon in this case, said the most probable cause of such perforation is liquid nitrogen. “It is potentially very dangerous. It is even colder than the coldest winter night in Antarctica, and will give any human tissue instant frostbite. Moreover, when liquid nitrogen turns from a liquid to a gas, it expands more than 500 times. If it is swallowed and gets down into the person’s stomach, it could explode,” he added.
The doctors warned people to be very careful while consuming with drinks with liquid nitrogen. The substance is used for a variety of things, including as a coolant for computers and in medicine to remove unwanted skin.
Its use in restaurants in DelhiNCR is a recent trend, said a food expert. “One should ensure that all the liquid has evaporated before consuming it,” he added.