UK woman dies after being impaled through eye by metal straw

The coroner advised those with metal straws not to use them with a lid that holds them in place.

Ashley Tan | July 10, 12:08 pm


A 60-year-old woman in the United Kingdom was killed by a metal drinking straw that impaled her through the left eye, a recent inquiry revealed.

Straw entered eye and pierced brain

Elena Struthers-Gardner was carrying a mason jar-style drinking glass with a screwed-on lid and a metal straw when she collapsed in her home in Dorset, England in November 2018.

When she fell, the 10-inch-long stainless steel straw entered her left eye socket and pierced her brain.

The straw was held in place by the lid of her drinking glass, according to The Independent.

The former jockey reportedly had experienced mobility issues since an accident at the age of 21.

With her spinal injuries, she was prone to randomly collapsing.

Struthers-Gardner’s wife, Mandy, said she did not hear her partner fall, but discovered her lying on the floor near the kitchen.

Struther-Gardner (right) and her wife. Photo from Elena L. J. Struthers-Gardner / FB

She said that Struthers-Gardner had been making “unusual gurgling sounds”, and that the glass cup was still lying intact on the floor with the straw attached.

She then noticed the straw “sticking into [Struthers-Gardner’s] head”, and called the ambulance.

It was discovered that the metal implement had damaged Struthers-Gardner’s brain stem, reported Telegraph, with the tip of the straw touching the back of her skull.

Struther-Gardner succumbed to her injuries at the hospital the next day.

Warning issued over metal straws and lids

Struthers-Gardner’s death prompted assistant coroner Brendan Allen to advise people to use metal straws with caution.

Metal straws have become increasingly popular, as more people become concerned about the impact of plastic waste on the environment, particularly marine life.

The item has also evolved to become something of an eco-friendly fad among the younger generations.

Following the incident, Allen warned against metal straws being used with any lid that holds them in place, to prevent such freak accidents in the future, according to the Telegraph.

“There is no give in them at all. If someone does fall on one and it’s pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur.

It seems the main problem here is if the lid hadn’t been in place the straw would have moved away.”

A drinking glass likely similar to the one Struthers-Gardner used. Photo from Amazon

Struther-Gardner’s wife shared similar sentiments, specifically advising that those with mobility issues exercise greater caution when using metal straws.

“I just feel that in the hands of mobility-challenged people like Elena or children, or even able-bodied people losing their footing, these things are so long and very strong.

Even if they don’t end a life they can be very dangerous.”

Top photo from Amazon and Elena L. J. Struthers-Gardner / FB

About Ashley Tan

Ashley can't go a week without McDonalds.

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