Metal drinking straw fatally impales woman through eye, brain

Tragedy Elena Struthers-Gardner

The incident nonetheless prompted warnings about the dangers of using metal straws.

Elena had been walking with a mason jar drinking glass sealed with a screw top lid when she collapsed in her kitchen in November a year ago, The Sun reports.

According to the coroner, the 25cm straw impaled her through her left eye socket and went all the way through her brain, the tip actually hitting the back of her skull.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, was a retired jockey and had mobility difficulties because of a horse-riding accident in her 20s.

Ms Struthers-Gardner's wife, Mandy, told the inquest in a statement she didn't hear the fatal fall but discovered her "making unusual gurgling noises" in the couple's kitchen. After turning Elena over, Many saw the straw had gone through her eye-and it was still attached to the drinking glass.

Dr David Parham, who carried out her post-mortem examination, said the cause of death was a traumatic brain injury, after the straw pierced "through her left eyelid and left eyeball". "I miss her very much, she was taken far too early".

'While I was on the phone, Lena appeared to have stopped breathing. "I slid the glass off the straw and turned her over".

"It seems to me these metal straws should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place".


Struthers-Gardner was rushed to a hospital in Southampton, in the south of England, but succumbed to the injury the next day.

For many, the solution to plastic straw restrictions is reusable options made of alternate materials like metal, paper, glass or silicone.

Eco-friendly straws have become increasingly popular in recent years as people shun single-use plastic straws to fight against plastic pollution, but use of metal straws come with potential risks.

"Medical staff had never seen an injury like that", he said.

The metal straw movement looks to cut down on the number of plastic straws that end up in the ocean, where they pose a danger to animals like sea turtles.

Others declared they were now rethinking whether they would ever use a metal straws again.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen stated that there is not enough evidence to explain why Struthers-Gardner fell and noted that no alcohol was present in a urine sample. "There is no give to them at all".

'I hope this never happens to anyone else'.

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