Woman dies after doctors 'accidentally' set her on fire during pancreatic cancer surgery

The patient was undergoing treatment at Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest on December 22 when the surgeons used an alcohol-based disinfectant on the woman before using an electric scalpel


                            Woman dies after doctors 'accidentally' set her on fire during pancreatic cancer surgery
(Getty Images)

A woman died after doctors set her on fire during surgery. The patient was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer on December 22 at Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest.

The incident occurred when the surgeons used an alcohol-based disinfectant on the woman before using an electric scalpel. The woman's body started burning on the operation table when the flammable disinfectant came in contact with the electrically charged scalpel.

Then, one nurse poured a bucket of water on the patient to prevent the fire from spreading. It is prohibited to use an electric scalpel with alcohol-based disinfectants during surgery. The patient who was 66 years old suffered 40 percent burns. She succumbed a week later at the hospital. 

According to local media outlets, politician Emanuel Ungureanu condemned the act and said that she "ignited like a torch" on his Facebook page.

The family of the patient was reportedly told by the doctors that the occurrence was "an accident" and that they had not been informed of "the gravity of the situation" or the details of what had happened — only that it was "an accident". They reportedly found out details about the incident from the media. A criminal complaint has been lodged against the hospital.

“The surgeons should have been aware that it is prohibited to use an alcohol-based disinfectant during surgical procedures performed with an electric scalpel,” deputy minister Horatiu Moldovan said in a statement. The incident has put the deteriorating health care system in Romania and the lack of trained medical staff in the spotlight. 

In 2015, 64 people were killed in a nightclub fire, out of which 26 died at the site. A former Romanian health minister allegedly delayed and blocked the transfer of the victims to get necessary help abroad.

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