Doctor speaks out about the burden on doctors and patients due to the attack on the health care system in Ireland
Last week, May 14, HSE’s computer systems were shut down in a cyberattack using Conti ransomware.
Authorities have assured people that emergency services are operational and that the country’s vaccination program has not been affected. One of the doctors told Malwarebytes Labs how the cyberattack actually continues to affect the lives of vulnerable patients and doctors.
“I can’t even check my work email. It affected our communication with everyone … No one could call me. Everything just falls apart. I have to tell the patients that I can’t operate on them […] They didn’t eat, they travelled a long distance, moved things, maybe they had to take time off from work and after all this, I have to tell them, I’m sorry, I can’t accept you, “says the doctor.
“I deal with the patients who are here. This should not be taken lightly. You either do it right, or you do it wrong and harm someone,” he adds.
But in order not to harm people, you need access to information that doctors no longer have. Delay can be life-threatening. If the doctor takes the patient several weeks or months in advance, he may already return with a tumour that cannot be identified on paper documents.
The medical staff were confident that the systems would be restored over the weekend or the same day. However, according to a report by the Ransomware Task Force, the average system inactivity time after a ransomware attack is 21 days. Full recovery time can take over nine months.
But it’s not just patients who are at risk. Due to the ransomware attack, staff have to work overtime just to determine which of tomorrow’s appointments will have to be cancelled due to lack of information. And then they have to explain to suffering, sometimes angry patients why the appointment is not possible.
“I think the HSE will pay the ransom. Doubt there is any other way around this. The pressure will build up, they will have to do what needs to be done. This cannot continue. It’s terrible, ”the doctor said.
We will remind, shortly after the cyberattack, the medical and personal data of patients of Irish medical institutions were published on the Web. Information includes internal HSE files, patient admission times, medical equipment purchases, and patient correspondence.
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