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Massachusetts Hospital Investigates ‘Data Security Incident’

Lawrence General Hospital officials are working through the details of exactly what happened during a disruptive cybersecurity incident earlier this month. The 36-hour disruptions forced ambulances to be diverted.

Shutterstock/Tyler Olson
(TNS) — Lawrence General Hospital is working with a forensic firm to learn more about a “data security incident” on Sept. 19, a hospital spokesperson said in a statement.

Hospital staff continued to care for patients during the incident — including walk-ins to the emergency center — but patients arriving by ambulance were diverted to other facilities for about 36 hours, the statement explained.

While the hospital’s systems were offline, staff members filled out medical forms by hand and communicated by phone and in face-to-face meetings, according to the statement.

“As part of our safety procedures, we alerted surrounding hospitals and emergency responders that LGH had downtime procedures in place so ambulances could be diverted to other area emergency centers,” it reads.

Out of “an abundance of caution,” LGH temporarily took all of its systems offline to secure the data it maintained.

The spokesperson explained, "We have normal downtime and safety procedures used for situations like planned system upgrades and incidents such as the one we experienced on Sept. 19."

The hospital's major clinical systems are said to be back online and patient care activities are continuing.

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