Cyberattack Hits Anna Jaques Hospital, Patient Services Temporarily Affected
In a shocking turn of events, Anna Jaques Hospital (AJH) fell victim to a cyberattack that crippled its health record system on Christmas Day, causing disruptions inpatient services. Hospital administrators have been tight-lipped about the details of the attack, leaving the community and healthcare professionals in the dark.
Upon discovering the cyberattack, the hospital swiftly responded by securing its environment and enlisting the help of cybersecurity professionals for the investigation. A hospital spokesperson stated, “While there may be some delays in receiving services, patient safety remains our top priority.”
During the crisis, AJH staff turned away ambulance crews from delivering patients to its emergency department, diverting them to other nearby hospitals. Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon expressed his concern, emphasizing the gravity of a cyberattack when the health of residents is at stake. The hospital resumed admitting new patients from ambulance services on December 26, but the recovery efforts are ongoing.
The hospital spokesperson, when questioned about the nature of the cyberattack, did not provide specific details. The decision to temporarily divert ambulance services was made to ensure safe and effective patient care. Recovery efforts are still in progress, and updates will be provided as new information becomes available.
The union representing hospital nurses raised questions about how important information would be processed and what steps would be taken to ensure sufficient staff to meet patient needs. The nurses have been vocal about poor working conditions throughout 2023, and their contract is set to end this year. Union spokesperson David Schildmeier expressed frustration, stating that hospital administrators have not adequately answered their questions.
In an unusual move, the union sent a memo to the Department of Public Health, outlining their concerns in the aftermath of the cyberattack. The memo highlighted that all electronic medical records systems and networked computers at AJH have been shut down since December 24, with no estimated timeline for restoration.
As the investigation unfolds, the community awaits further updates from Anna Jaques Hospital on the resolution of the cyberattack and the resumption of normal operations, with patient safety remaining a top priority.