A woman has died in the north after being given the wrong type of blood during a transfusion.

The woman was named as 56-year-old Ayla Dalgalan, a retired teacher from Nicosia.

Her death was announced on Sunday by the Turkish Cypriot police, who explained that she had been in intensive care at the Near East hospital outside northern Nicosia before passing away on Saturday night.

The Near East hospital themselves then made a statement, explaining that Dalgalan had been at the hospital’s intensive care unit for a total of 12 days after having been transferred from another hospital, already having received a transfusion of the wrong blood.

It later emerged that Dalgalan had received the transfusion at the Thalassaemia Centre at northern Nicosia’s Dr Burhan Nalbantoglu hospital.

The Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Union (Ktos) called for the matter to be questioned, saying they “trust” that the Cyprus Turkish Medical Association (KTTB) will investigate what they called “a suspicious situation which cost a person’s life”.

Dalgalan’s relatives announced they would take legal action, while the north’s Universal Patient Rights Association (EHHD) said they are “ready to provide all the support we can in their fight.”

They said Dalgalan’s death “is not just a result of a mistake or neglect on the part of a member of staff, but a result of a chain of problems at many stages of public health services.”

They added that as the north’s economic problems grow, people are turning at a greater rate to public health services, but that “it has become obvious that public hospitals have not strengthened their infrastructure and personnel to the same extent.”

“When the organisational disorders and inadequacies in this country’s healthcare system are combined with a lack of legislation to protect patients’ rights, a general feeling of fear and distrust towards healthcare services is created among society,” they said.

They added that “no one can feel safe unless patients’ rights are protected, and justice is served.”

One possible source for such a law in the north could be the European charter of patients’ rights. The charter includes a total of 14 rights and was written by the European Union in 2002 with a view to being part of the “European Constitution”, later watered down as the Lisbon Treaty.

The 14 rights outlined in the charter include the right of access to healthcare and the rights to preventative measures, information, consent, free choice, privacy and confidentiality, respect of patients’ time, safety, to complain, and to innovation, among others.