Jockey dies after eye pierced by metal straw

Tragedy Elena Struthers-Gardner

A WOMAN died when she fell onto an eco-friendly stainless steel drinking straw that impaled her eye and brain in a freak accident, 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.

The inquest heard she had suffered with mobility difficulties following a horse riding accident when she was 21-years-old.

A coroner said Struthers-Gardner was discovered on the floor by her wife, Mandy.

At the time of her death, Elena, affectionately known as Lena, was living with multiple spinal fractures, and Mandy said she would often collapse, "like a sack of potatoes at random intervals". According to her wife, it wasn't unusual for her to suddenly fall or collapse. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over.

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

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

Mrs Struthers-Gardner, from Poole, Dorset, was rushed to Southampton General Hospital but it was quickly clear that she would not survive.

Her death was ruled an accident and a coroner's report stated that people should take "great care" when using metal straws. As per an NPR report in July 2018, those with mobility challenges find it more convenient to drink from plastic straws since they bend, and washing reusable straws is a hard task for PWD.

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Eco-friendly metal straws have been all the rage after several USA states enacted bans against single-use plastic straws, but a tragedy in the United Kingdom might have some consumers thinking twice.

"Medical staff had never seen an injury like that", he said, according to the Telegraph.

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

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.

Speaking to reporters outside the coronial court, Mandy said she missed her beloved wife everyday.

Use of metal straws comes with potential risks particularly when used by children or mobility-challenged individuals like Elena.

"There is no "give" in them at all", said Brendan Allen, an assistant coroner, according to Inside Edition. "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.

'I hope this never happens to anyone else'.

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