Monday, October 8, 2012

Bar Serves Teen a Cocktail with Liquid Nitrogen

Gabby Scanlan from Lancaster, UK had to have her stomach surgically removed after drinking a cocktail with liquid nitrogen. She was celebrating her 18th birthday at Oscar's Wine Bar and Bistro, and ingested the chemical before it evaporated from her drink. Scanlan is stable, but in serious condition.

BBC news shared this story through a video. The video included a short but powerful interview from Professor John Ashton, director of public health, saying that a bar is not a place for dangerous chemicals. Most people commonly know of liquid nitrogen as the chemical used to help freeze off warts. It's an extremely cold substance that kills tissue and if ingested, may be fatal.

The image in the video of the drink shows viewers how the use of liquid nitrogen has an enticing effect on making the drink look more theatrical. But it is dumbfounding that a bar would allow someone to be served a drink with a harmful chemical. The video did not say whether the bar warned people to not drink the liquid nitrogen before it was evaporated. The bar is no longer selling the drink. One mixologist in the video said that he thinks it is possible to use liquid nitrogen in drinks, but that it must be done safely and very carefully.

I find that when you compare the BBC news video to other accounts of this incident that their are some interesting details that are omitted because it was done with a video, but that is one limitation of using that form of media. However, there was a brief summary of details regarding what happened beneath the video. One detail that I found interesting from the Daily Mail article was that it shared the name of the drink, a "Nitro Jagermeister." It also included a quote that the teen posted on twitter telling people to stop making jokes, such as "stay off the liquid nitrogen," about the almost fatal incident. 

I find that a story like this does lend itself to creativity when it comes to making a headline. I for one was going to start this article off by saying:

Did you ever think you'd hear the day when someone would ask, "I'll have a cocktail, easy on the liquid nitrogen." 

I reconsidered the joke after thinking about the serious situation and reading that quote from the Daily Mail. I do think BBC news did a good job with their video. I liked the extra commentary from  the two opposing points of view. This week in our class we had to do an audio piece on a controversial subject and I think that this BBC news video showed the techniques we learned it class. The video showed the opposing views between the bar tender, who cares about the theatrics of a drink, vs. a professor in public health, who doesn't feel a chemical like that should ever be in a restaurant or bar. But I think that BBC news could have included more written details along with the video.

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