A woman died on Tuesday, December 31, after she was accidentally set on fire during a hospital operation in Bucharest, Romania. The news has been confirmed by the health ministry, in a case which has cast a spotlight on the ailing health system.
The pancreatic cancer patient died after suffering 40 per cent burns. The woman was undergoing surgery when the doctors used an electrical scalpel to operate her despite her being already treated with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
Romanian lawmaker Emanuel Ungureanu, on his Facebook page, cited a medical staff at the capital's Floreasca hospital and said that the patient "ignited like a torch" soon after her body came in contact with the flammable disinfectant that caused instant combustion.
A nurse reportedly threw a bucket of water onto the 66-year-old Romanian to prevent the December 22 fire from spreading.
However, the health ministry vowed to investigate the "unfortunate incident". "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.
Medical staffs deny more details
The victim's family said the medical staff had spoken of an "accident" but declined to offer details.
Despite some improvements due to increased funding, Romania's hospital system still suffers from dilapidated equipment and a shortage of doctors and finds itself at the heart of repeated scandals.
In another incident back in 2015, when 64 people were killed due to a nightclub fire -- 26 on-site and 38 others later -- a former health minister stands accused of having delayed and even blocked, the transfer of burn victims abroad.
They reportedly passed away in ill-equipped Romanian hospitals. An investigation into the incident is still on.
(With agency inputs)