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Woman Dies After Metal Straw Punctures Her Eye And Brain

A 60-year-old woman is dead after she tripped while carrying a mason jar drinking glass and a metal straw stabbed through her eye.

Elena Struthers-Gardner, a 60-year-old retired jockey in Dorset, United Kingdom, was carrying the jar -- with a metal lid and attached straw -- when she fell in her kitchen last November.

The straw, held in place by the lid, punctured through her eye and deep into her brain, causing catastrophic damage.

Stock photo: Getty Images.

Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, who led the investigation into Struther-Gardner's death after Bournemouth police were called to the hospital, told the Dorset Coroner's court that medical staff "had never seen an injury like that".

She had suffered multiple fractures in her spine throughout her jockey career and suffered mobility issues as a result. According to her wife of four years, Mandy, she was prone to falling randomly "like a sack of potatoes".

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Elena was rushed to hospital after the fall, but died after her life-support was switched off the next day, following advice from medical staff that it was "unlikely she would survive" the injury.

Stock photo: Getty Images.

Mandy said in court she thought "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.

Metal straws have grown in popularity in recent years, with growing consciousness of plastic waste and a focus on cutting use of single-use plastics. One Australian study over the 2018 Christmas period found that reusable goods such as straws and coffee cups had a sales increase of more than 1000 percent compared with the 2017 season.

Assistant coroner Brendan Allen issued a warning about the straws, saying that "great care should be taken" when using them.

"If someone does fall on one and it's pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur," he said.

Mandy Struthers-Gardner stated to reporters after the hearing that she misses her wife and "she was taken far too early".

"I hope this never happens to anyone else."