SickKids Hospital Systems Could be Offline for Weeks Following Ransomware Attack, Lab Results Delayed

SickKids Hospital in Toronto was hit with a cybersecurity incident on Monday which resulted in a system failure. Now, the hospital has shared its systems could be down for weeks and there could be delays in lab results. This in turn could create longer wait times for patients.

SickKids Hospital has been struggling to meet patient demand amid this flu season as the sheer number of patients coming in with respiratory illnesses has been overwhelming. On Monday, the hospital reported it was hit with a cybersecurity attack which caused a Code Grey – the hospital’s code for system failure. Even though no personal health data information was affected, the attack has caused delays in testing and lab results.

The ransomware attack has taken the systems at SickKids offline for weeks, the hospital stated. Because of this, the clinical teams are facing delays in getting lab and imaging results. This is in turn increasing patient wait times, at a time when patients are already having to wait much longer than usual.

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SickKids Hospital is working with Toronto police, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the provincial government as part of the investigation. Details about the cyberattack have not been shared yet. It is unclear what kind of ransom has been demanded.

Last week, the hospital reported it was having to transfer two to eight patients on average to other hospitals. These patients were the ones that did not require the level of care SickKids specializes in. Paramedic services from Peel and York had been lending their EMS vehicles to the hospitals to transfer these children.

Canada’s medical system has been struggling to keep up with the surge in patients. An increasing number of respiratory illnesses caused by Influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 have put hospitals, pharmacies, and staff under a lot of pressure. Children’s hospitals are also facing difficulties in keeping up with the demand. The medicine shortage, however, has somewhat been addressed as new stock has started to arrive at pharmacies.

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