Police in east China's Hangzhou City confirmed Friday that electrocution was the cause of the "accidental" death of an A/H1N1 flu patient in a hospital on Wednesday.
"The patient died of electrocution caused by leakage of electricity from electrical circuits in her ward lavatory, when she was taking a shower," said a statement jointly released by the public security, health and quality supervision departments.
The patient was identified as a 34-year-old woman named Lou Yihong, who was admitted on June 23 to the People's Hospital, in Xiaoshan District, after being diagnosed with A/H1N1 flu.
Police said an autopsy was carried out on her body. She was found dead in her ward lavatory by a nurse at 7:35 a.m. Wednesday.
The patient had been recovering and her temperature had measured normal for a week before her death. She had coughed occasionally, but other flu symptoms had disappeared, according to the Hangzhou municipal health bureau.
More than 50 of the patient's relatives protested at the hospital from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday, damaging the inside of the buildings and an ambulance with rocks. Glass in the hall and a flower terrace in front of the hospital were damaged.
A Xinhua reporter saw Lou's relatives go into closed-door talks with officials at the hospital on Tuesday.
Shen Xiaohui, director of the hospital, told Xinhua that the hospital would "properly handle the aftermath of the accident, and negotiate with the patient's relatives over the compensation issue."
Some newspapers and Internet media reported the relatives suspected Lou's death was caused by leakage of electricity from the water heater in her ward lavatory, and demanded compensation of 4 million yuan (585,000 U.S. dollars) from the hospital. But the sources failed to get a direct quote from Lou's relatives.
(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2009)