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Lawsuit Says Baby Died Because of Hospital Ransomware Attack

photo of doctor on computer

Oct. 4, 2021 -- A woman has sued an Alabama hospital, alleging her newborn baby didn’t receive proper care and eventually died because of a ransomware attack at the hospital.

Teiranni Kidd says she was not informed the Springhill Medical Center in Mobile was in the middle of a ransomware attack when she checked in to have her baby in July 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Wall Street Journal said the attack disabled computers on every floor of the hospital, made patient records inaccessible, and cut off the nurses’ desk in the labor and delivery unit from equipment that monitors fetal heartbeats in delivery rooms. 

Kidd says her daughter, Nicko Silar, was born July 17 with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, causing brain damage. That condition would have registered on the fetal heartbeat monitor if the ransomware attack was not under way, The Journal says.

Because of the hospital’s “fraudulent non-disclosure,” the child suffered permanent injury and died April 16, 2020, the lawsuit says

Kidd says she would have gone to a different hospital if she’d know about the ransomware attack. The newspaper says that if Kidd prevails in court, the case will mark the first confirmed death from a ransomware attack.

In ransomware attacks, hackers disable computer systems and demand payment to make the systems usable again.

The hospital denies wrongdoing. In a statement, hospital CEO Jeffrey St. Clair said, “We stayed open and our dedicated healthcare workers continued to care for our patients because the patients needed us and we, along with the independent treating physicians who exercised their privileges at the hospital, concluded it was safe to do so.”

The doctor who delivered the baby, who is also a defendant, did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment. In a court filing, the doctor said she knew of the ransomware attack but “believed Ms. Kidd could safely deliver her baby at Springhill” at the time she was admitted.

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The Wall Street Journal: “A Hospital Hit by Hackers, a Baby in Distress: The Case of the First Alleged Ransomware Death”

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