An Alabama medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that a ransomware attack on a local hospital led to the death of a baby.
The lawsuit alleges:
“On July 9, 2019, Springhil Memorial Hospital suffered a serious ransomware attack that blocked and encrypted the hospital’s computer systems, network systems, and data (hereinafter “cyberattack’). On the same day, Springhill Memorial Hospital told media outlets that it experienced a “network event” but that the issue “has not affected patient care.””
“Teiranni Kidd presented to Springhill Memorial Hospital on July 16, 2019 but was not told that the hospital’s computer systems had been hacked, that they were not operating as needed, and that patient safety was implicated and could be compromised. Consequently, she was admitted to Springhill Memorial Hospital on July 16,2019 for induction of her pregnancy due to gestational hypertension. At that time and throughout her admission, Teiranni had no knowledge of the effect that the cyberattack was having on Springhill Memorial Hospital, on hospital operations, or the quality of patient care.”
“Upon information and belief, the only fetal tracing that was available to healthcare providers during Teiranni’s admission was the paper record at her bedside. Because numerous electronic systems were compromised by the cyberattack, fetal tracing information was not accessible at the nurses’ station or by any physician or other healthcare provider who was not physically present in Teiranni’s labor and delivery room. As a result the number of healthcare providers who would normally monitor her labor and delivery was substantially reduced and important safety-critical layers of redundancy were eliminated.”
“Upon information and belief, as a result of the cyberattack, nurses and other healthcare personnel were forced to use outdated paper charting methods and paper documentation to record and document Teiranni’s labor and Nicko’s delivery. Some of the paper forms used outdated terminology and had not been used in years.”
“Dr. Pamell performed an amniotomy (an artificial rupture of membranes) at approximately 8:40 a.m. on July 17, 2019. An intrauterine pressure catheter was also placed inside Teiranni’s uterus around the same time for the purpose of monitoring her contractions.”
“There are significant gaps in the fetal tracing on the monitoring strips between 10:31 a.m. and the time of delivery.”
“Nicko was delivered with nuchal cord and terminal meconium at 11:23 a.m. or 11:25 a.m. on July 17, 2019, with an APGAR score of 1 at 1 minute, 0 at 5 minutes, 0 at 10 minutes, 0 at 15 minutes, and 1 at 20 minutes … Following her birth, Nicko was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, anuria, acute kidney injury, acute tubular necrosis, hyaline membrane disease, seizures, perinatal depression, transaminitis, hypocalcemia, hyponatremia, and a pneumothorax … Nicko was profoundly brain-injured, required frequent oxygen supplementation, fed through a gastrointestinal tube, and needed medication administration around the clock.”
Nicko died on April 16, 2020.
“Defendant Springhill Memorial Hospital planned, orchestrated, and implemented a scheme by hospital management and ownership in which they conspiratorially hid, suppressed, and failed to disclose critical patient safety-related information, and further created a false, misleading, and deceptive narrative concerning the July 2019 cyberattack by deliberately failing to disclose critical factual information known to Springhill Memorial Hospital and to Springhill Memorial Hospital’s key managerial and ownership personnel, including that hospital operations and patient safety were compromised by the cyberattack. Defendant Springhill Memorial Hospital had a duty to disclose all material facts regarding the July 2019 cyberattack.”
“In connection with Teiranni’s and Nicko’s July 16, 2019 admission, Springhill Memorial Hospital, through its managers and with the blessings, acquiescence, ratification, guidance, and/or direction of other hospital personnel, intentionally or negligently withheld information and wrongfully concealed and suppressed from Plaintiff, from Plaintiff’s physicians and other medical providers, and from the general public all the following:
a. The severity of the cyberattack;
b. The crippling nature of the cyberattack on hospital operations;
c. The lack of access to critical services and information caused by the cyberattack;
d. The inability of hospital departments and hospital personnel to communicate internally and/or with other departments and personnel as a result of the cyberattack;
e. The lack of adequate preparation and training for a cyberattack;
f. The effect of the cyberattack on the hospital’s electronic systems and data;
9. The specific electronic systems and data that were compromised by the cyberattack;
h. The scope of the electronic systems and data that were compromised by the cyberattack;
i. The extent to which layers of redundancy and other safeguards typically in place as part of normal hospital operations were compromised by the cyberattack; and
J. The discomfort and concern expressed internally by hospital agents, servants, employees, and other personnel about the dangers to which patients were exposed as a result of continued operations following the cyberattack.”
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of a hospital ransomware attack (hospital cyberattack) in Alabama or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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