In May, a ransomeware attack targeting Scripps Health in San Diego diverted critical patients to other nearby providers, leading to the overcrowding of two large academic emergency departments (EDs). Struggling to keep up with the sudden influx, these EDs implemented emergency procedures to bring extra staff on board.

The pair of [emergency departments] at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) saw their average daily emergency medical services (EMS) arrivals rise by nearly 60% year-to-year during the worst week of the cyberattack on the Scripps Health system of clinics and hospitals, said Christian Dameff, MD, of UCSD, in presentations at the American College of Emergency Physicians annual meeting.

The cyberattack began around May 1 and targeted Scripps Health, a $2.9-billion nonprofit system that provides about a third of patient care in the San Diego region. The 700,000-patient system has about 3,000 physicians and five hospitals.

In their retrospective analyses, Dameff and colleagues noted that in the 3 weeks leading up to the cyberattack, a mean of 69–71 patients were transported to the hospital EDs each day. In the initial days of the attack (May 2–8), the number grew to 116.

Read the article in its entirety at MedPage Today.