British Woman Dies After Metal Drinking Straw Impales Her Through Eye

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2019

A retired jockey was killed after falling on to an eco-friendly metal drinking straw which impaled her eye, an inquest heard.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, also known as Lena, was at her Dorset home carrying a mason-jar style drinking glass with a metal straw attached to its lid, when she suddenly collapsed on November 22 past year.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen issued a warning about the straws, saying that "great care should be taken" when using them.

A 2018 push to ban single-use plastic straws elicited a wave of criticism and personal testimonies around the world, many from those with disabilities that prevent them from being able to lift cups high enough to drink and those who are prone to tremors or spasms, which make sharp metal straws particularly unsafe. Turning her over, she saw that the straw was stuck in Struthers-Gardner's left eye socket.

'She was making unusual gurgling sounds. "Her glass cup was lying on the floor still intact and the straw was still in the jar", she said Monday.

"I did not hear her fall", she described in a statement read by the coroner, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

'I called 999 and requested an ambulance. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over.

"I slid the glass off the straw and turned her over".

The 60-year-old's wife said she believes the metal straws can be extremely hazardous, especially for those with mobility issues.

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

Her wife continued: 'I was quickly informed that due to the severity of her injury it was very unlikely she would survive.

In our rush to reduce the harm caused by straws, we must not forget those who use them out of necessity, not convenience: people with disabilities.

On the day she died, there was no booze in her system.

To deal with the pain from her spinal injuries, which caused scoliosis, she started taking fentanyl, and then slowly became dependent on alcohol, her wife said.

He said: "Medical staff had never seen an injury like that".

Mandy Struthers-Gardner and Robin Struthers, Elena's brother, have both called for stronger safety measures to be taken with the now-popular metal straws.

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.

'There was no alcohol present in the urine sample so intoxication did not contribute to the fall'. There is no give in them at all.

Other reports by iNewsToday