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Dubai: A woman has died after being set on fire during surgery in Romania, the country’s health ministry has said in a statment.

The 66-year-old woman, who had pancreatic cancer, died on December 22 after suffering burns to 40 per cent of her body, after surgeons at Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest treated her with an alcohol-based disinfectant and then used an electric scalpel to perform an operation.

Contact with the flammable disinfectant caused combustion.

The patient "ignited like a torch", politician Emanuel Ungureanu said on his Facebook page, quoting medical staff at the hospital.

A nurse threw a bucket of water on the woman to prevent the fire from spreading. The woman eventually succumbed to her injuries a week after the disastrous operation.

The hospital’s accreditation has been suspended for six months because it failed to report the incident, according to Romanian news outlet G4Media.

“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.

Health minister Victor Costache released a statement promising to investigate the "traumatic" incident.

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

The victim’s family said medical staff had spoken of an “accident” but declined to offer details.