Published: Sat, July 13, 2019

Woman dies after metal drinking straw impales eye, pierces brain

Woman dies after metal drinking straw impales eye, pierces brain

The incident nonetheless prompted warnings about the dangers of using metal straws.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, was carrying a drinking glass with a screw-top lid when she collapsed at her home in Poole, Dorset, in November previous year. The 10-inch straw she was sipping from went through her left eye and struck her brain.

Her wife, Mandy, told an inquest she discovered Struthers-Gardner lying on the ground making "unusual gurgling sounds". According to her wife, it wasn't unusual for her to suddenly fall or collapse. After turning Elena over, Many saw the straw had gone through her eye-and it was still attached to the drinking glass.

"I noticed the straw was sticking into her head", she said in a statement, according to The Sun.

Mandy then contacted 999 to request for an ambulance.

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

She also talked about the metal straws, she added, "These things [metal straws] are so long and very strong".

With the cause of death listed as traumatic brain injury, Brendan Allen, the assistant coroner, said: "Clearly great care should be taken when using these metal straws".

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Officials learned she was dependent on alcohol after her fentanyl pain medication was reduced, but toxicology reports showed that none of that was present when she died.

The tip of the straw ended up resting against the back of Struthers-Gardner's skull, injuring her brain stem, which controls breathing, reported The Telegraph.

"If someone does fall on one and it's pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur", he said.

Added the victim's brother: "These straws can very easily be lethal".

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

The following day, her life support machine was switched off. "There is no give to them at all".

Stuthers-Gardner's wife, Mandy, said that Elena had suffered mobility issues since she was 21, and was prone to collapsing "like a sack of potatoes at random intervals".

'Even if they don't end a life they can be very risky'. "I hope this never happens to anyone else", she said.

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