A retired British jockey has died after falling onto a metal drinking straw, which pierced her eye and caused a fatal brain injury.
Sixty-year-old Elena Struthers-Gardner collapsed in her kitchen in Dorset while holding one of those very poplar mason jar drinking glasses with the metal straws threaded through a screw top lid.
According to the coroner, the 25cm straw impaled her through her left eye socket and went all the way through her brain, the tip actually hitting the back of her skull.
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“.
Leader of the investigation into Struthers-Gardner’s death, Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, said hospital staff were stunned by the injury.
Medical staff had never seen an injury like that. They said it was unusual more than anything else.
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.
Mandy said in a statement:
I just feel that in the hands of mobility challenged people like Elena, or children, or even able-bodied people losing their footing, these things are so long and very strong. Even if they don’t end a life they can be very dangerous.
Assistant coroner Brendan Allen told the press:
Clearly great care should be taken when using these metal straws. There is no give in them at all. If someone does fall on one and it’s pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur.
It seems to me these metal straws should not be used with an form of lid that holds them in place. It seems the main problem here is if the lid hadn’t been in place the straw would have moved away.
Image: Getty Images / MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC