Hospitals hamstrung by ransomware are turning away patients

Exterior entrance to hospital.

Enlarge (credit: health.mil)

Dozens of hospitals and clinics in West Virginia and Ohio are canceling surgeries and diverting ambulances following a ransomware attack that has knocked out staff access to IT systems across virtually all of their operations.

The facilities are owned by Memorial Health System, a nonprofit network of services that represents 64 clinics, including hospitals Marietta Memorial, Selby, and Sistersville General in the Marietta, West Virginia, metropolitan area. Early on Sunday, the chain experienced a ransomware attack that hampered the three hospitals’ ability to operate normally.

Beginning at midnight on Sunday, the three hospitals started diverting emergency patients to Camden Clark Medical Center. The facility is an hour’s drive from Selby, which has 25 beds. Camden Clark is about a 25-minute drive from the other two Memorial Health System hospitals hit by the breach. Another affected facility providing critical care includes a freestanding emergency room at Belpre Medical Campus in Belpre, Ohio.

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