Fitness Model Tragically Dies From Exploding Can of Whip Cream


July 08, 2017

A French fitness model was killed recently by an exploding can of whip cream. According to the New York Post, the bottle of whip cream used by the model was removed from consumer markets in 2013 by the manufacturer because of the possibility the item could endanger someone. While a terrible tragedy, this is another instance of how manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers to produce products which are safe. Manufacturers also owe customers an obligation to recall potentially hazardous consumer goods and take reasonable measures to reclaim the recalled products from consumers.

The woman who was killed by the exploding whipped cream dispenser was a picture of health. She was only 33 years-of-age and a popular Instagram fitness model. Reports indicate that the exploding whipped cream bottle was not a traditional whipped cream dispenser. Rather, the device included a cartridge filled with nitrous oxide. When regular whipping cream is poured into the container, the user depresses a handle which punctures a cartridge filled with the gas and the gas spreads into the whipping cream. Fresh whipped cream comes out when the user engages the dispenser.

Something went horribly wrong when the model fatefully decided she wanted fresh whipped cream. While charging the cream, the canister exploded and struck the model in the chest or throat region. She went into cardiac arrest from the tremendous impact of the exploded shrapnel against her chest. A physicist explained that if the dispenser failed, as it did, the gas-filled cartridge would be like a speeding bullet.

Why did the model die? The prosecutor's office investigating the case in France has not released a cause of death. However, one physician speculates that the debris struck the model at precisely the wrong time in her heartbeat cycle. The physician indicated that death would be rare in these types of cases but did opine that serious injury was very likely to occur.

The model likely died from cardiac arrest because of an interruption of her heart's electrical rhythm. The last phase of the heart's electrical conduction phase is known as ventricular depolarization. During this phase of the heartbeat, the electrical waves pause for a very brief time which allows the heart to prepare for the next heartbeat cycle. However, if the chest is struck during that depolarizing phase, the heart can stop. The doctor said that the force would need to be significant and a push to the chest or another type of blow probably will not stop your heart.

The doctor went on to explain that a person can survive such an incident if immediate intervention is administered. If someone was nearby to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use a defibrillator, then she might have survived. If the heart can be restarted within two or three minutes, then the patient is not expected to suffer any lingering effects of stoppage.

The manufacturer of the dispenser said that it pulled its product off of the shelves in 2013. The company also said that it made efforts to recall the defective product. Notwithstanding the company's efforts, an estimated 200,000 dispenser remain in circulation. France's consumer advocacy group has asked consumer not to use dispensers like this one.

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