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Personal Injury Law Blog

Are ransomware attacks increasing medical malpractice claims?

All too frequently, reports of ransomware attacks against major companies and government entities fill news headlines. These attacks can bring major corporations to their knees and expose millions of people to identity theft and more. Ransomware attacks have been responsible for halting fuel distribution and causing other infrastructure problems as well as resulting in the stealing of financial and personal information from consumers. Now, it seems the attacks are also responsible for a rise in medical malpractice claims.

Recent ransomware attacks and resulting lawsuits

Over the past few weeks, news reports have headlined several lawsuits brought against hospitals and their vendors because of ransomware attacks. In one case, a suit claimed the death of a newborn was due to ransomware attacks, and another suit alleged attacks resulted in diminished care for a patient because the attack caused an outage of the network infrastructure of one of the hospital’s vendors. Other medical malpractice lawsuits dating back to 2019 have been initiated or amended due to ransomware attacks.

While it is too early to tell how some of these lawsuits will play out in court, some people are already asking if ransomware attacks will be responsible for initiating a new wave of medical malpractice lawsuits. One doctor who is the founder and director of a cybersecurity advisory group seems to think so. Most of these attacks seem to focus on a hospital or health care vendor’s network infrastructure and can affect many electronic devices, monitors and more. The attacks can cause a host of problems, particularly with regards to accessing a patient’s medical and medication information, appointment scheduling, patient tracking and other areas.

What can victims do?

As noted, ransomware attacks have already been blamed on the death of a newborn because it crashed the facility’s electronic systems and caused a severe outage with regards to monitoring the child’s labor and delivery. Another case involved a cancer patient who was not able to receive treatment due to the provider’s network being down. Whatever the case, should a cyberattack adversely affect a patient’s level of care, or worse, cause an untimely death, those affected can work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to understand their options and pursue compensation for any damages the attack may have caused.