Metal drinking straw warning after death of woman impaled through eye

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2019

However, an unfortunate incident happened recently, where a metal straw cost a woman her life.

Elena Struthers-Gardner was in her home with a mason jar drinking glass in her hand when she fell on November 22, Inside Edition reported.

Dr. David Perham, the doctor who conducted an autopsy on Elena, confirmed that the metal straw pierced through her left eyelid and her left eyeball which hit her brain and caused a traumatic brain injury.

The 60-year-old's wife said she believes the metal straws can be extremely hazardous, especially for those with mobility issues.

The 60-year-old was found making "unusual gurgling sounds" by her wife Mandy Struthers-Gardner.

"I did not hear her fall", said Mandy in a statement read by the coroner. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over.

When she turned her around, she saw the metal straw had pierced her left eye socket, she explained.

It seems to me these metal straws should not be used with an form of lid that holds them in place.

The eco straws have grown in popularity in recent years after an environmental push to cease plastic use.

Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, who carried out an investigation into Struthers-Gardner's death, said the case was extremely unusual, noting, "Medical staff had never seen an injury like that".

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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.

"These straws can very easily be lethal".

But reusable metal straws are a potentially risky solution when paired up with the wrong sort of lid said Brendan Allen, the coroner in the inquest into Struthers-Gardner's death.

Metal drinking straws have started popping up in stores and restaurants around the world following reports that single-use plastic straws are not only incapable of being recycled due to their small size, but are also especially perilous to sea animals.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen told the inquest in Bournemouth that "great care" must be taken when using the straws.

Her life support was switched off the next day.

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.

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. There is no give in them.

"It seems the main problem here is if the lid hadn't been in place the straw would have moved away", he said.

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