A coroner has issued a metal straw warning after a woman fell onto one, impaling her eye and causing a deadly traumatic brain injury.
Elena Struthers-Gardner, a retired jockey, was walking in her kitchen in Dorset, England, holding a mason-jar drinking glass with a screw-top lid when she collapsed. According to The Telegraph, the eco-friendly, 10-inch long stainless steel straw entered the 60-year-old's left eye socket and pierced her brain.
Struthers-Gardner's brain stem, which controls breathing, was damaged by the metal straw. According to the outlet, the tip of the straw stopped at the back of her skull.
Mandy Struthers-Gardner, Elena's wife of four years, called an ambulance after finding her on the kitchen floor, but Elena succumbed to her injury in the hospital the next day.
The equestrian has suffered from mobility issues since the age of 21, following a fall off of a horse. According to her wife, it wasn't unusual for her to suddenly fall or collapse.
"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," Mandy said. "Even if they don't end a life they can be very dangerous."
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.
"Clearly great care should be taken when using these 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," Allen said of the straws, which are meant to cut down on single-use plastics. "It seems to me these metal straw should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place."
Mandy said: "I miss her very much. She was taken far too early. I hope this never happens to anyone else."
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