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British woman fatally impaled by metal straw

A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that warned about the dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states, and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws.

The woman, Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, who had a disability, fell and sustained a traumatic brain injury in November when the 10-inch straw pierced her eye, according to the coroner’s report.

“As a consequence of the fall, a stainless steel straw that was in a glass Kilner-style cup Mrs. Struthers-Gardner was carrying penetrated her left eye,” the report said.


Struthers-Gardner’s wife, Mandy, said in a statement read at the inquest that her partner had been prone to falls after a horseback riding injury when she was 21.

A British straw ban will go into effect in April, but the worldwide environmental push against single-use straws has encountered opposition from some caregivers and advocates for people with disabilities.