A woman has died after being set on fire during surgery in Romania, the country’s health ministry has said, in a case that has cast a spotlight on the ailing Romanian health system.
The patient, who had pancreatic cancer, died on Sunday after suffering burns to 40% of her body when surgeons used an electric scalpel despite her being treated with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
Contact with the flammable disinfectant caused combustion and the patient “ignited like a torch”, Emanuel Ungureanu, a Romanian politician, said.
A nurse threw a bucket of water on the 66-year-old woman to prevent the fire from spreading. The health ministry said it would investigate the “unfortunate incident”, which took place on 22 December.
“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 Deputy Minister, Horatiu Moldovan, said.
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Source: The Guardian, 30 December 2019
the hub has a number of posts on preventing surgical fires:
Surgical fires: nightmarish “never events” persist
MHRA. Paraffin-based skin emollients on dressings or clothing: fire risk (18 April 2016)
National Patient Safety Agency: Fire hazard with paraffin-based skin products (Nov 2007)
How I raised awareness of fires in the operating theatre