Woman dies after being set ablaze during surgery in Romania

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By Euronews  with AFP
Floreasca Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.
Floreasca Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.   -  Copyright  Wikimedia/Pixi

A woman in Romania has died after being set on fire during surgery, the country's health ministry announced on Sunday evening.

The 66-year-old woman was undergoing surgery for her pancreatic cancer on December 22 when she was set ablaze after the electric scalpel surgeons were using came into contact with flammable disinfectant, local MP Emanuel Ungureanu said on Facebook, citing medical personnel.

A nurse poured a bucket of water over the patient but she suffered burns on 40% of her body and died a week later.

Ungureanu filed a criminal complaint on Monday over the event that took place at Bucharest's Floreaca Hospital.

"The truth must come to light and the medical staff in Romania need to know in detail what went wrong to not repeat such a tragedy," he said.

The health ministry called it a "serious case, a regrettable event that should not happen in hospital".

Authorities launched an administrative investigation before the patient's death on December 27 and said in a statement that a team of specialists were sent in to interview hospital staff.

"We will have no mercy on those who have done wrong," the health ministry's statement said at the time.

It also described the attitude of surgeons involved as "surprising", noting that they "refuse to cooperate with the control teams from the Health Ministry and Bucharest's Public Health Directorate".

Romania spent just 5% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare in 2016, the lowest of any EU member state, according to Eurostat official figures.

The eastern European country also had the highest share of avoidable deaths in light of medical knowledge in 2015.