A woman is suing The Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach FL after allegedly being served liquid nitrogen in her drinking water causing her to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency gallbladder removal and partial stomach removal. Stacey Wagners filed the suit on October 11, nearly one year after the incident took place.
Wagners’ claim states that she and a friend were celebrating her birthday at the hotel’s Maritana Grille on November 11, 2018, when they witnessed a waiter pour liquid nitrogen onto another guest’s dessert to prompt a smoking effect. After stating that the smoke “looked cool,” the waiter poured some into each of their water glasses.
Wagner drank the mixture and fell “gravely ill within seconds,” according to her attorney, Adam Brum, in an interview with People. She reportedly began throwing up and requesting medical aid from staff and customers immediately. An ambulance was called and she was transported to a nearby hospital where a cholecystectomy was performed to remove her gallbladder. Subsequent investigation of Wagner’s GI tract revealed that areas of her stomach had also been burned beyond repair and needed removal. Her suit claims that she will have digestion issues for the remainder of her life.
In an interview with NBC News, Wagner claims she was unaware of the dangers presented by liquid nitrogen. “Of course I didn’t think it was dangerous at all; he had just poured it on a dessert.” After consuming the mixture, she knew differently. “There was an explosion in my chest,” she said. “I couldn’t speak. I felt like I was dying.”
While the FDA lists liquid nitrogen as non-toxic, it warns in a 2018 release that the cryogen can cause “serious injury from eating, drinking or handling food products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, immediately before consumption.” Like the Cryogenic Society of America, they go on to warn consumers of the dangers of similar cryogenic trends in products like “Dragon’s Breath” ice cream and “nitro puff” desserts and advise customers avoid the dangers altogether.
The Don CeSar Hotel has declined to comment pending litigation.