Teenage boy, 16, almost died when his lung burst after inhaling laughing gas at Parklife festival

A 16-year-old boy almost died after taking laughing gas at Parklife festival caused his lung to burst.

Teenager Alex Littler, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was rushed to hospital on Monday 20 June after complaining of a swollen neck, breathlessness and that his chest felt like ‘popping bubble wrap’ when touched due to the air leaking from a ruptured lung.

The year 11 student was forced to confess to doctors and devastated mother Cathy McCann, 44, that he’d inhaled nitrous oxide over the weekend while at Parklife music festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, on June 11 and 12.

He was diagnosed with a ruptured and leaking lung and told he was lucky to be alive but medics warned he may need surgery to remove air that was trapped around his lungs and heart.

Nitrous oxide is bought in cannisters and used legally for anaesthesia or as a propellant for whipped cream, however it is often pumped into balloons to be inhaled by those hunting for a ‘high’.

Beauty therapist Cathy says the ordeal was ‘terrifying’, with Alex having vowed never to inhale the drug again, admitting that he ‘didn’t know the dangers’.

Alex Littler, 16, almost died after taking laughing gas at Parklife festival. He was rushed to hospital on Monday complaining of a swollen neck and breathlessness because of air leaking from his lung

Cathy said: ‘He’s said it’s the worst thing he could have done. He didn’t realise himself what the dangers were and he did it because all his mates were doing it.

‘I come home from work Monday night and he was in bed. I asked what was up because he never goes to bed and he said his chest was dead tight and he felt breathless.

‘When I pressed on his chest it was like bubble wrap, he was in pain and his neck was swollen. You only had to press it a tiny bit and it was crackling and crunching.

‘I panicked and dialled 111. They said to take him straight to hospital. The doctor listened to his chest and felt the popping.

The year 11 student was forced to confess to doctors and devastated mother Cathy McCann, 44, that he'd inhaled nitrous oxide over the weekend while at Parklife music festival in Heaton Park, Manchester (pictured), on June 11 and 12

The year 11 student was forced to confess to doctors and devastated mother Cathy McCann, 44, that he’d inhaled nitrous oxide over the weekend while at Parklife music festival in Heaton Park, Manchester (pictured), on June 11 and 12 

He was diagnosed with a ruptured and leaking lung and told he was lucky to be alive but medics warned he may need surgery to remove air that was trapped around his lungs and heart (his x-ray is pictured)

He was diagnosed with a ruptured and leaking lung and told he was lucky to be alive but medics warned he may need surgery to remove air that was trapped around his lungs and heart (his x-ray is pictured)

‘I’m panicking, they’re asking questions, about whether he’s had injuries, been squashed in a crowd, been weightlifting or done anything that could have caused the damage.

‘He said no to all of those so they told him to be honest and asked what he’d taken because we said he’d been to Parklife.

‘He just came out with it and said he had balloons there and I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it, he said he hadn’t had anything.

‘It upsets me thinking about it, it’s horrible. It could have been fatal. It could have killed him. His lung has got a hole in it.

‘The gases can affect on your spinal cord, go to your brain and deaden your brain. I was beside myself because I didn’t know the full facts about these gases. He was petrified.’

Alex claims that he’s tried the drug before but has promised his mother that he and his friends wouldn’t touch it again.

Doctors found that Alex’s lung had been leaking and started to repair itself leaving air trapped around his lungs and heart.

Alex Littler is pictured in hospital after experiencing breathlessness and a swollen neck

The 16-year-old 'didn't know the dangers' of nitrous oxide, his mother Cathy said

Nitrous oxide is bought in cannisters and used legally for anaesthesia or as a propellant for whipped cream, however it is often pumped into balloons to be inhaled by those hunting for a ‘high’. Alex’s mother said the 16-year-old ‘didn’t know the dangers’ (pictured in hospital)

Luckily, an oxygen mask that was left on overnight managed to remove the trapped air without Alex having to undergo an operation.

Cathy said: ‘His friends are devastated, they’ve been on the phone constantly, putting posts on snapchats saying they don’t want to see anyone doing balloons.

‘I don’t think half of them knew the depths of what they can do. He’s been told by doctors, if he does it again, he’ll be back in hospital because he has a weak spot on his lungs now.

‘It’s a danger because if it hadn’t repaired itself it’s going to make a bigger hole and it would have been fatal. He would have ended up dead or paralysed or brain dead. Alex was totally shocked. That’s when it hit him – seeing your mum sitting there crying because we’re a close family.

On 15th June, Greater Manchester Police Bury South shared images of industrial bins filled with kilos of nitrous oxide cannisters that had been seized by officers around Parklife festival (Alex Littler, pictured right, at Parklife on 11-12 June)

On 15th June, Greater Manchester Police Bury South shared images of industrial bins filled with kilos of nitrous oxide cannisters that had been seized by officers around Parklife festival (Alex Littler, pictured right, at Parklife on 11-12 June)

‘He’s not in trouble because it’s been that much of an ordeal, he’s learnt a big massive lesson so I didn’t need to say anything to him.’

Cathy warned of the dangers of the party drug: ‘You can buy it over the counter. I don’t think parents know the concept and what they are because some people think they are just party balloons.

‘No one knows the depth and consequences. 16-year-olds are dying, people have messaged me saying their son died.

‘I want to put it out there, the dangers of it for parents as well not just the kids. They don’t know what’s happening, it’s happening under everyone’s noses. Parents should go to the parties they’re going to and see what’s going on because they’re all doing it.’

Cathy (pictured left with her son Alex) warned of the dangers of the party drug: 'You can buy it over the counter. I don't think parents know the concept and what they are because some people think they are just party balloons'

Cathy (pictured left with her son Alex) warned of the dangers of the party drug: ‘You can buy it over the counter. I don’t think parents know the concept and what they are because some people think they are just party balloons’

On 15th June, Greater Manchester Police Bury South shared images of industrial bins filled with kilos of nitrous oxide cannisters that had been seized by officers around Parklife festival.

Police wrote: ‘One of our public promises is to prevent and reduce crime. So, as part of our community operation for Bury South, Parklife festival officers seized several kilos of nitrous oxide.’

The sale of nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effects was made illegal after the Psychoactive Substances Act in 2016, but it is not currently a crime to be caught in possession of the drug.

Parklife have been contacted for comment.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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