LONDON (ANN): A 60-year-old woman in Britain died after a reusable metal straw pierced through her eye in a freak accident.
Elena Struthers-Gardner had collapsed in the kitchen of her home in Dorset while carrying a mason-jar style drinking glass with a 10-inch stainless steel straw fixed onto the screw top lid.
The straw pierced through her left eye socket before entering her brain. This damaged her brain stem, which controls breathing.
Struthers-Gardner suffered traumatic brain injury and eventually died from the fatal misadventure in November 2018, British media reported earlier this week.
The retired jockey had a history of mobility problems and was prone to falling over after sustaining multiple fractures in her spine. No evidence of alcohol was detected in her urine sample, suggesting that intoxication was not a cause of her fall.
The incident was eventually deemed to be a form of accidental death.
A coroner advised on Monday (July 8) that metal drinking straws should be used with caution, and without lids that fix them in position. If the lid was not present, Mrs Struthers-Gardners might have survived.
Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, who carried out an investigation into the death, said the case was very unusual, reported The Telegraph.
"Medical staff had never seen an injury like that. They said it was unusual more than anything else," he said.
Metal straws have gained popularity in recent years, such as in Singapore where there is a push towards becoming a zero-waste nation. Companies and education institutions such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) have also launched initiatives to stop using plastic straws. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network