Monday, 18 November, 2019

Metal Drinking Straw Impales Woman’s Brain and Kills Her in Freak Accident

Elena Struthers-Gardner right and her civil partner Mandy left Dorset woman died when she fell onto an eco-friendly metal straw
Deanna Wagner | 13 July, 2019, 19:46

A coroner in England issued a rare warning to metal straw users after a woman was fatally impaled by one.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, the 60-year-old woman, was carrying a mason jar that had the metal straw on the top when she collapsed inside her house in Broadstone, Poole, Dorset on November 22, 2018.

Officials said the 10-inch metal straw she used with the cup pierced through her left eye socket and into her brain, causing her to die of a traumatic brain injury, according to The Sun.

During an interview with Mandy, she explained the problems Elena Faced, she said, "I just feel that in the hands of mobility challenged people like Elena, or children, or even able-bodied people losing their footing".

"She was making unusual gurgling sounds. I called 999 and requested an ambulance", she said.

'While I was on the phone, Lena appeared to have stopped breathing.

The straw, held in place by the lid, punctured through her eye and deep into her brain, causing catastrophic damage.

Elena was rushed to Southampton General Hospital where she was pronounced dead the next day, the Daily Echo reported.

Her death led assistant coroner Brendan Allen to warn people about the potential dangers of using fixed metal reusable straws during an inquest hearing.

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US cities including Seattle and San Francisco have implemented bans on plastic straws, and major companies such as Starbucks, Hyatt and Hilton are reportedly abandoning the plastic.

"Medical staff had never seen an injury like that", Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour said during an inquest on Monday.

'There was no alcohol present in the urine sample so intoxication did not contribute to the fall'.

However, Struthers-Gardner's death highlights why many people with disabilities have concerns about straw bans and being unable to access plastic straws, especially while eating out.

Her life support was switched off and she died the next day in November previous year.

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.

Her wife, Mandy Struthers-Gardner, said the accident left Elena with multiple fractures on her lower spine and caused scoliosis, which made her prone to falling over "like a sack of potatoes" at random moments, according to the Daily Mail.

"There is no give in them at all", Allen told the court, according to The Independent.

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. "I hope this never happens to anyone else", she said.