Investigation into patient set on fire at Floreasca Hospital

An internal investigation begins at the Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest, lead by the National Authority of Health Quality Management, in the case of the patient who was set on fire on the operating table in December. The president of the national health organization, Vasile Cepoi, met with the management of the hospital on Monday to establish reference guides, steps of the analysis and the audit team – reported news portal.

Cepoi indicated that the internal audit should be finalized in about a month or so, its main purpose being to identify the causes that led to the unfortunate event . He also pointed out that the investigation will be carried out according to a very strict program, and the hospital will have to adapt to it, adding that what happened to this patient in the operating room shows the probability of organizational deficiencies at the institution. “The situation is grave; if such an event has happened at a high-performance hospital like Floreasca, it can happen at any other unit where the electric scalpel is used in surgery,” concluded the president of the state authority.

A 66-year-old woman suffering from pancreatic cancer was set on fire on an operating table at Floreasca Hospital on December 22. So far, it is known that an alcohol-based disinfectant had been applied to her skin, and then the surgeons started to operate on her with an electric scalpel, which set her body on fire.

The alcohol-based substance is registered in Romania, but it is meant for disinfecting the hands of operating personnel. Additionally, the hospital notified the health ministry only a couple of days after the incident. The victim’s family told Romanian media that they had not been aware of the details of what had happened – they were told simply that it “was an accident.” Surgeons did not make any declarations either; according to the auxiliary personnel’s statements, the woman’s body was burning in flames until a nurse threw a bucket of water on her. She suffered burns to 40 percent of her body and died a week later.

Deputy Health Minister Horaţiu Moldovan has himself pointed out to journalists that “the surgeons should have been aware that it is prohibited to use an alcohol-based disinfectant during surgical procedures performed with an electric scalpel.” Health Minister Victor Costache promised that the incident “will be properly investigated.”

The accreditation of the Floreasca Hospital has been suspended by the National Authority of Health Quality Management, and the police have opened an investigation into the women’s death on the suspicion of reckless manslaughter.

Title image: Romania spends the least on healthcare in the EU both per capita and as a percentage of GDP



Author: Éva Zay