Can Hospitals Be Sued For Birth Injuries Caused By Hacker Attacks?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Birth Injuries, Birth Injury |

Birth injuries can happen. Sometimes they occur due to an issue with the pregnancy, during the birth process or due to an error by one of the medical attendants.

What most people do not expect is for a birth injury to occur because of a hacker attack. However, this is exactly what happened in an Alabama hospital, and now the hospital is facing a lawsuit by the mother of a baby who died.

Ransomware disabled computers

According to the New York Post, in July of 2019, an Alabama hospital was experiencing a ransomware attack. The group behind the attack disabled the computers and demanded money to restore their use. As a result, staff was unable to access patient records, and fetal heartbeat monitors at the front desk were not working. This went on for weeks.

During this time, Ms. Teiranni Kidd entered the labor unit to give birth. Because the fetal heart monitors were not working at the main nurse’s station, the fact that there were warning signs of Ms. Kidd’s fetus escaped the attention of many healthcare staff. It turns out the umbilical cord was wrapped around the fetus, cutting off oxygen to the brain. As a result, Ms. Kidd gave birth to a daughter with severe brain injury. The daughter died nine months after she was born.

How to prove medical malpractice

Ms. Kidd sued the hospital and the attending obstetrician. The medical staff was aware of the hacker attack at the time of Ms. Kidd’s admittance, and no one told her about it. In order for the plaintiff to win her case, she will most likely need to prove malpractice. To establish negligence, she must:

  • Prove the doctor/patient relationship and the duty of the professional to the plaintiff
  • Prove that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care
  • Prove a connection between the deviation and the patient’s injury
  • Prove the patient’s injury

If the plaintiff wins the lawsuit, it will be the first case that confirms death occurred due to a ransomware attack.

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