66-year-old cancer patient burned alive during operation

A woman has been burned alive on an operating table after a surgeon used an electrified scalpel that ignited flammable alcohol-based disinfectant.

The woman passed away on Sunday evening after suffering 40 per cent burns to her body following the incident on 22 December.

The 66-year-old was undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer at the Floreasca urgent care hospital in Bucharest.

Emanuel Ungureanu, a Romanian politician said on his Facebook page that the patient “ignited like a torch” before a nurse threw a bucket of water on the woman to prevent the fire from spreading.

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

In a statement Romanian health minister, Victor Costache offered condolences to the patient’s family and described the woman as the victim of an “unfortunate event”.

He said he hoped hospitals would “learn from this troubling episode” so the “traumatic experience” was not repeated in other Romanian hospitals and also assured that he would do “everything possible to find the truth”.

It is the latest incident to put a spotlight on Romania’s ailing hospital system which has a shortage of doctors and relies on dilapidated equipment.

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