St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley, Illinois closed due to Cyberattack

St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley, Illinois closed due to Cyberattack

St. Margaret’s Health Hospital closed its doors on Friday 16, partly due to a massive ransomware attack that crippled the digital infrastructure of the hospital. There were already talks about the closing of the hospital. The issues were precipitated by this devastating attack.

In a Facebook video, Suzanne Stahl, the chair of SMP Health, the hospital’s parent organization, said, “Due to a number of factors, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the cyberattack on the computer system of St. Margaret’s Health, and a shortage of staff, it has become impossible to sustain our ministry.”

The closing of the hospital is worrisome for the residents as they have to travel for half an hour to visit the nearest emergency room. “The hospital closure will have a profound impact on the well-being of our community. This will be a challenging transition for many residents who rely on our hospital for quality healthcare,” according to Melanie Malooley-Thompson (Spring Valley’s mayor).

Ransomware attacks have posed increasing threats to the healthcare systems in the US. Every year there are hundreds of documented cyberattacks on the healthcare systems in the US. Computers and other digital infrastructure has become an integral part of the modern healthcare. Everything from patient charts to laboratory reports and medical billing data is all coordinated with the help of computers. These attacks not only cripple the digital infrastructure but also pose a risk of breach of patient data. Hackers have been attacking hospital systems despite the rapidly evolving technologies to secure these digital systems.

Another hospital in the nearby town of Peru, owned by SMP was shut down earlier this year. It has now been taken under custody by a healthcare organization, OSF which plans to restart healthcare services in this hospital in the near future. Till then, the residents of Spring Valley will face difficulties in getting prompt medical care.

Source:

NBC News: An Illinois hospital links closure to ransomware attack (nbcnews.com)

Dr. Muhammad Hussain
Dr. Muhammad Hussain

MD, Entrepeneur & Administrator. Six years of experience, working in the field of clinical care, medical administration, and healthcare business.

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