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Inside Ascension after cyber attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime


Just four days after Ascension St. Vincent’s operations were upended by a ransomware attack earlier this month, Mark Hammond, 74, was admitted to the health system’s flagship hospital on 86th Street in Indianapolis for life-threatening symptoms.

Quickly, his family, including his daughter who is trained as a nurse, realized that things were going very wrong. What typically should have been a weeklong treatment for a blood clot and bacteria in his blood has dragged on into an 11-day stay and counting. Throughout Hammond’s time in Ascension St. Vincent, he has watched as his health care providers have struggled to determine the best way to help him heal. Doctors and nurses couldn’t access his electronic health records, which spell out instructions for imaging tests that are safe since he has a medical device implanted in his heart. His caregivers could not make necessary decisions about what dosage of medicine he needed without rapid lab results, and the lab was delayed due to the hack, his family said.

“I’ve been here for too long,” Hammond said from his hospital room Tuesday. “This is costing me every day for something that’s not my fault.”

Since the ransomware attack on May 8, doctors, nurses and other staff across Indiana and 18 other states have lost access to important health care technology. In the absence of computer records, they have turned to keeping medical records, prescriptions, vital signs, doctors notes and other key information on paper and in binders, according to patients and employees at the network. The massive change in workflow has delayed everything from lab work and imaging results to discharging patients and sending prescriptions to pharmacies.



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