Wait times went 'haywire' at UC San Diego Health during 2021 Scripps attack

In 2021, when Scripps Mercy Hospital of San Diego was hit with a ransomware attack, it caused ripple effects to nearby hospitals, including UC San Diego Health, which had to see an influx of patients as they got diverted to its hospital, NPR reported June 19.

"Our wait times had, you know, gone haywire," Christopher Longhurst, MD, chief medical officer and chief digital officer at UC San Diego Health, told the publication. "It was like the whole system suddenly was overloaded, right? So we felt it."

Dr. Longhurst collected data on the time period of the attack, four weeks before and after, and found that it disrupted patient access and care. 

According to the data, there were more increases in emergency room arrivals during the attack, with the organization seeing more than 600 additional people. In addition, Dr. Longhurst found that there were more than double the amount of strokes reported. 

"The cumulative San Diego County EMS diversion hours, meaning how many hours were emergency departments on diversion where they were unable to take trauma patients and stroke patients because their scanners weren't working, and their doctors couldn't access the right information, right? And you can see it's significant," Dr. Longhurst said. 

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