Ransomware Slams Hospitals; Surgeries Delayed; Computer Network Destroyed

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A ransomware attack delayed surgeries and shut down laboratories and diagnostic facilities at two hospitals in Pennsylvania last week and also shut down the computer network at a hospital in West Virginia.

“Thank God I was able to get my surgery,” patient Brenda Pisarsky posted to Facebook on June 28.

Pisarsky was in the Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital in Beaver, Pa., for a gallbladder operation when the ransomware hit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Surgeries at the two hospitals operated by Heritage Valley Health were rescheduled and laboratories shut down. At least one patient, Dorothy Tully, was told to come back in five to seven days, Action News 4 reported.

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Computer monitors were turned off and nurses were scurrying around with stacks of paper at the Pennsylvania hospitals. One unidentified patient was in the operating room when his surgery was delayed.

Meanwhile, the Princeton Community Hospital in Bluefield, W.Va, was forced to rebuild its computer network because of the same ransomware, known as Petya.

“As a precaution to prevent any computer re-infection, the hospital will rebuild its computer network from scratch,” hospital marketing director Richard Hypes told The Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Petya apparently infected around 100 computers at the West Virginia facility.

“As a result, a handful of non-emergency early morning procedures were canceled,” Hypes said.

Petya appears to be ransomware, which locks users out of computers and demands $300 worth of bitcoin for access.

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