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Woman Dies After Falling And Impaling Herself On 10-Inch Metal Drinking Straw

caitlyn.clancey 11 Jul 2019

Metal straws have recently become more and more relevant, as well as more readily available, as the world realizes that single-use plastic straws are super detrimental to our environment.

Though they may be small, these plastic straws pack a seriously powerful punch when it comes to trash and litter. Americans alone use around 390 million straws everyday. That's just one country — one country disposing of hundreds of millions of straws that take up to 200 years to decompose and that consistently harm ocean wildlife.

So, making the switch to metal eco-friendly reusable straws seems like the right way to go. But while they're beneficial to our environment, this story proves that these straws can also pose some risks to our own health if we're not careful.

A UK woman was enjoying a beverage out of a mason-jar-style drinking glass when tragedy struck.

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According to Business Insider, 60-year-old Elena "Lena" Struthers-Gardner had placed a 10-inch metal drinking straw inside the jar's screw-top lid.

While she was holding the container, she collapsed and landed face-first on the metal straw.

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The fall caused the straw to impale Lena, entering through her left eye socket and piercing her brain.

Instagram | @betterstraws

Her wife of four years, Mandy Struthers-Gardner, released a statement following the incident and described the events.

"I did not hear her fall," Mandy said. "I went to the kitchen door and could see Lena lying on her front at the doorway between the den and the kitchen."

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According to her wife, Lena was making "unusual gurgling sounds" while she lay collapsed on the ground.

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"Her glass cup was lying on the floor still in tact and the straw was still in the jar," Mandy said. "I noticed the straw was sticking into her head."

After dialing 999, she noticed Lena had stopped breathing, prompting the dispatcher on the phone to instruct Mandy to turn her wife over.

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"I slid the glass off the straw and turned her over. I could see the straw had gone through her left eye."

Instagram | @savingturtly

Lena was rushed to hospital to be treated for her injuries but tragically died the following day.

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Mandy said that Lena suffered from mobility difficulties ever since she was 21 after a riding accident.

Instagram | @the_incredibasils

Due to severe pain experienced from the accident, which caused scoliosis and multiple fractures to her lumbar spine, Lena was prone to frequently falling "like a sack of potatoes" at random, her wife told The Daily Echo.

"I just feel that in the hands of mobility challenged people like Elena, or children, or even able-bodied people losing their footing, these [straws] are so long and so very strong," Mandy said, adding, "even if they don't end a life they can be very dangerous."

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In his recording of his conclusion for accidental death, assistant coroner Brendan Allen issued a warning about metal straws.

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"Clearly great care should be taken when using these metal straws," he said. "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."

He added, "It seems to be these metal straws should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place."

h/t: Business Insider

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