Woman dies after landing on an eco-friendly metal drinking straw which impaled her through the eye

A 60-year-old retired jockey died after falling onto an “eco-friendly” metal drinking straw which impaled her eye and entered her brain.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, also known as Lena had been drinking from a mason-jar type drinking glass with a screwable lid in her kitchen when she suddenly collapsed to the floor.

Lena’s death has led to a coroner warning of the danger in using drinking straws with a lid that fixes them in place and said that “great care should be taken” while using them.

Elena’s wife Mandy told a court hearing that she discovered Lena on November 22 at their home lying on the ground making “unusual gurgling sounds”

“Her glass cup was lying on the floor still intact and the straw was still in the jar.

“I noticed the straw was sticking into her head. I called 999 and requested an ambulance.

“While I was on the phone, Lena appeared to have stopped breathing. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over.

“I slid the glass off the straw and turned her over. I could see the straw had gone through her left eye,” Mandy said.

Lena was rushed to a hospital but her loved ones were pushed into making the painful decision to switch off her life support one day later after the doctors at Southampton General Hospital said it was “unlikely she would survive”.

The inquest was informed that Lena had struggled with mobility issues following a horse riding accident when she was 21 years of age.

Due to severe recurring pain from her horse riding accident, she would randomly fall over collapsing “like a sack of potatoes”

Lena’s wife continued:

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

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

A cause of death was given as a traumatic brain injury after the straw pierced “through her left eyelid and left eyeball”.

The strange death prompted coroner Brendan Allen to warn people about the dangers of using metal straws.

”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 to me these metal straws should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place. It seems the main problem here is if the lid hadn’t been in place the straw would have moved away,” the coroner said after recording a conclusion of accidental death.

What measures do you think should be taken to avoid such accidents while combating plastic pollution? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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