An Alabama baby allegedly received inadequate childbirth health care at an Alabama hospital and later died due to computers being crippled by a ransomware attack, according to a lawsuit.
The child’s mother, Teiranni Kidd, claims Springhill Memorial Hospital failed to alert her about the cyberattack and the hackers’ demand for ransom when she checked into the hospital to deliver her child Nicko Silar, according to the 2020 lawsuit, first reported on by The Wall Street Journal.
Computers at the Mobile hospital had been turned off for nearly eight days when Kidd arrived to be induced on July 16, 2019, leaving patient records inaccessible and cutting off staff from fetal heartbeat monitoring equipment in its delivery rooms, according to the filing.
Nicko suffered a severe brain injury when medical staff failed to notice the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck because of a “lack of access to critical services and information caused by the cyberattack,” the suit said. She died nine months after the cord cut off her blood and oxygen supply.
Kidd said she would have chosen another hospital if she knew the situation was as dire as text messages between staff reviewed by the Journal indicated.
Attending obstetrician Katelyn Parnell reportedly said she would have delivered the baby by cesarean section if she had access to a heart monitor showing Nicko’s vitals.
“I need u to help me understand why I was not notified,” she texted the head nurse, according to the article. “This was preventable,” Parnell wrote.
The hospital told the outlet that it was not liable for Nicko’s death.
“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,” Springhill CEO Jeffrey St. Clair told the Journal.
A trial is set for November 2022. If the allegations are proven, the case would mark the first time a ransomware attack turned deadly, the newspaper said.
A cybersecurity expert reportedly said it was likely the hack was led by the Russian Ryuk gang, which has attacked hundreds of health care facilities in the US since 2018, receiving at least $100,000 million in bitcoin ransom.