UK Woman Elena Struthers-Gardner Fatally Impaled by Metal Drinking Straw


Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, a retired jockey from Broadstone, England, was killed at her home during the November 22 accident when she fell. The 10-inch straw she was sipping from went through her left eye and struck her brain.

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

Her wife, Mandy, told an inquest she discovered Struthers-Gardner lying on the ground making "unusual gurgling sounds".

'Her glass cup was lying on the floor still intact and the straw was still in the jar, ' the widow told Bournemouth coroner's court.

"I noticed the straw was sticking into her head".

After she called an ambulance, Ms Struthers-Gardner was taken to hospital but doctors were unable to save her. The lady on the phone asked me to turn her over. It was only after she was turned over that the wife saw the straw had pierced her eye - and that it was still attached to the drinking jar.

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

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

Though new laws restricting the use of plastic straws help protect the environment, many of these eco-friendly materials aren't a great option for people with disabilities because they're too heavy, inflexible or hard to clean, among other difficulties and risk for harm.

"Medical staff had never seen an injury like that", he said.

She reportedly had become alcohol-dependent in the months leading up to her death, but toxicology reports showed no alcohol in her system at the time of her fatal fall. The type and brand of metal straw that Struthers-Gardner was using was not mentioned in the original report of the accident.

"Clearly great care should be taken when using these metal straws, there is no give in them", he said.

'Even if they don't end a life they can be very unsafe'.

Her life support was switched off the next day.

'I hope this never happens to anyone else'.