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Medicine Security IT

Computer Virus Forces Hospital To Divert Ambulances 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the outbreak-at-the-hospital dept.
McGruber writes "The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper is reporting that a hospital with campuses in Lawrenceville and Duluth, Georgia turned ambulances away after the discovery of 'a system-wide computer virus that slowed patient registration and other operations.' They're only currently accepting patients with 'dire emergencies.' A spokeswoman for the hospital said the diversion happened because 'it's a trauma center and needs to be able to respond rapidly.' The situation began on Thursday afternoon and is expected to last through the weekend."
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Computer Virus Forces Hospital To Divert Ambulances

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  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:17PM (#38330076)

    Yes, but until the health care reform package runs most of the for profit insurance companies out of business that's going to remain to be the case.

    Sprained ankles though I wouldn't lump as a minor ailment. You don't necessarily always know if it's a sprain or a minor factor or torn ligament. Delaying care can end up costing a lot more money and result in inferior recovery.

  • Nuisance, Not Crisis (Score:5, Informative)

    by stevedog (1867864) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:18PM (#38330080)
    I work at a trauma center, and we go to diversion all the time. It happens whenever the ER gets backed up to the point that the patients would be better served by going to a less-full ER than by coming to ours, even if that ER is a little further away. This happens at least twice weekly, although perhaps not as often as other, less busy ERs. Yes, the virus undoubtedly brought them to this clogged state much faster, but this isn't nearly the crisis the summary (or the article it is summarizing) makes it out to be.
  • by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:28PM (#38330206) Homepage Journal
    Then I'd go to an urgent care clinic, which takes both my insurance and cash-only payments from people who don't have insurance. If you want to win your argument against the parent post you responded to, you're going to have to beat my argument I just submitted just now. Urgent care clincs outnumber hospitals. There may be rural exceptions, but I don't think this place is rural.
  • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:38PM (#38330784)
    Going to hospital with heartburn is actually very common, especially for people with angina. Heart attacks and heartburn have almost identical symptoms, so it makes a lot of sense to go to hospital when you've got an existing condition.
  • Re:This is (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:01PM (#38331334)

    As someone who works in a hospital i can tell you that reverting to a paper and pencil system requires at least 10x the number of workers for the same number of patients. And they would make many life threatening record keeping mistakes mistakes that are time consuming to identify since they would have to use this system infrequently if ever.

    As an example transcribing dozens of lab values on possibly hundreds of patients and a worker transposes a potassium of 7.3 to 3.7. That patient could die from that simple mistake.

  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:26PM (#38331456)
    I'm currently inside a hospital data center and I can tell you that windows is behind the scenes of a lot of the systems we use. Everyone in "the know" thinks it sucks that the majority of the problems we encounter is because of borked hardware configurations in appliance machines or Windows servers. We are on mainframe (as of today, it's still the only way to get everyone's critical data to almost a dozen moajor sites at once with 99.9 uptime and I don't see us abandoning it anytime soon) and there is a god-damned Windows server that is only used to encode EDI transactions to the JES2 spooler that always crashes, causing the spool to fill up, endangering the entire system. It's a very serious problem as the only solution to it once JES is full is to IPL the system.

    The server in question doesn't even show an error message. Well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. you can stop and start the services all you like, but you're just wasting time as the JES2 spool gets bigger. The only solution is to reboot the Windows Server. It is redundantly mirrored, but we any of you with any sense will know that this does not make the situation any less frightening. The mirror is bound to be subject to the exact same problem, since it's software-related, which would put you back at square 1 in the event of a fail-over.

    Don't even get me started about malware. Of course, all the workstations throughout the system are Windows systems. Those should not matter in case of a power outage or system-wide failure because we have downtime procedures in place, but let's face it, we'd be majorly crippled if we were to ever loose our entire network and it would likely impair our ability to serve customers. Although it shouldn't. So far we've been lucky.

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