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Doctors abandon man during surgery

August 27, 2011

A man in China died on the operating table after his doctors fled from a fire that broke out in the next room, a hospital official said Friday.

The unnamed 50-year-old died after being left unattended for 30 minutes while undergoing surgery to amputate his leg on Wednesday night at the Shanghai No. 3 People’s Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Hu Yuan.

A nurse at first tried to douse the blaze, caused by a disinfecting machine that caught fire but when that failed, the staff attending the patient reported the fire and tried to carry on with the operation.

‘As they were finishing up, the power went out and then they all left,’ Hu said.Firefighters prevented the doctors from returning to the operating room, and by the time they reached the man in the operating room he was dead, apparently of smoke inhalation.

Hu said the doctors and nurses were kept at the hospital as police investigated but were allowed to leave today.’Our hospital gave them some time off,’ Hu added. ‘We did wrong and we are responsible for the whole accident.’

The hospital was discussing compensation for the family, but Hu would not say how much it might pay.

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