An inquest has heard how a 60-year-old woman tragically died when she collapsed and fell onto a metal straw which pierced through her eyeball and into her brain last November.
Elena Struthers-Gardner had been using a mason jar as a glass with a screw-top lid when she fell, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. The metal straw had been a birthday gift.
In a statement prepared for court, Elena's wife, Mandy advised that she hadn't heard her spouse fall but found her lying on the ground.
'She was making unusual gurgling sounds,' she added, describing the moment she realised that her wife had been impaled. 'I could see the straw had gone through her left eye.'
Rushed to hospital, Mandy was informed that Elena was unlikely to survive. Her life support was switched off and she died the following day.
The retired jockey had suffered with mobility issues after a horse riding accident at just 21-years-old, where she suffered multiple fractures to her lumbar spine and caused scoliosis. Due to her injuries Elena was prone to falling over.
It's reported that a reduction in her pain medication lead to the woman becoming alcohol dependant. In the months leading up to her death, she had been drinking around a half a litre of vodka each day.
However, the coroner found that there was no alcohol present in her system, concluding that intoxication did not contribute to the fall. 'It seems to me these metal straws should not be used with any form of lid that holds them in place,' he added.
Used in place of plastic straws, often in an effort to help reduce waste, straws made out of metal, bamboo and even glass are becoming increasingly popular.
In July, 2018, McDonald's received mixed feedback after the company's announcement that they would phase out plastic straws in their Australian restaurants by 2020, starting with a trial of paper straws in selected stores.
During her statement, Mandy wrote that in the hand of mobility challenged people like Elena, or children, or even able-bodies 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.'