Cancer patient dies after surgeons accidentally set her on fire during operation

A cancer patient who was set on fire by bungling surgeons during an operation in Romania has died.

The unnamed woman, 66, suffered 40% burns to her body during the horrific accident on December 22.

She had been admitted to Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest for an operation to treat pancreatic cancer when the surgeons set her ablaze.

Medics in the operating theatre washed the woman's body with an alcohol-based disinfectant prior to surgery.

But they then used an electric scalpel which set the woman on fire on the operating table as it made contact with the alcohol.

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The victim died in hospital one week later as a result of her injuries, authorities confirmed.

Her family told local media they hadn't been told of "gravity of the situation" or the specifics of what happened during the procedure.

They had only been told that what occurred had been an "accident".

"We found out some details from the press when they were broadcast on TV stations," they added. "We aren't making accusations, we just want to understand what happened."

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Romania health minister, Victor Costache, said in a statement that he promised to investigate the "traumatic" incident.

"We hope to learn from this troubling episode," he added. "Both myself and the Ministry of Health team that I coordinate will do everything possible to find out the truth."

Deputy minister Horatiu Moldovan added: "The surgeons should have been aware that it is prohibited to use an alcohol-based disinfectant during surgical procedures performed with an electric scalpel."

The BBC reported that Romania spends the least on its healthcare system of any EU country, both per resident and as a percentage of its GDP.

It has the highest child mortality rates on the continent, along with an underdeveloped hospital infrastructure and a persistent shortage of medical staff, the broadcaster added.

  • Fire
  • Cancer
  • Family

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