Reusable metal straws might help save the planet, but these trendy little tubes could actually kill you. Yep, you read that right. A woman in the UK died last year after a metal straw pierced through her eye and into her brain when she fell while carrying a mason jar-styled drinking glass with a screw-top lid.
Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, was a retired jockey and had mobility difficulties because of a horse-riding accident in her 20s. 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.
Mandy said she didn't hear the fall, but she found Elena lying face-down making "unusual gurgling sounds." After turning Elena over, Many saw the straw had gone through her eye—and it was still attached to the drinking glass. She immediately called for an ambulance.
Unfortunately, doctors said the severity of Elena's injury made it very unlikely she would survive. Her family eventually decided to take her off life support.
Elena officially died from a traumatic brain injury. 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.
A coroner's report noted that metal drinking straws should never be used with a lid that fixes them in place, and "great care" should always be taken while using them. "There is no give in them at all," assistant coroner Brendan Allen said, according to The Sun. "If someone does fall on one and it’s pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur."
Mandy said, "I miss her very much; she was taken far too early. I hope this never happens to anyone else."
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