Feb 5, 2024 - News

Lurie Children's remains offline after cyberattack

Photo of a sign that says "Lurie Children's Outpatient Center"

Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

It's been almost six days since a network outage knocked Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago offline.

Why it matters: Lurie is more than a hospital, it's also one of the leading pediatrician networks in the city.

  • For about a week, hundreds of thousands of patients and their families haven't been able to get care, reach their pediatricians or access their online medical records.

What they're saying: Lurie officials last week said on social media that they were investigating a "cyber security matter" with the help of experts and law enforcement agencies.

Flashback: For the first few days, patients were met with a busy signal when they called their doctor's office. And Lurie's patient portal was down.

  • On Friday night, the hospital network opened a central call center to help patients and providers connect.

Zoom in: During this outage, elective surgeries have been postponed and doctors can't access pending test results. Providers still don't have access to all patient records, as many are only available digitally.

  • Staffers and patients have relied on physical paperwork, including writing prescription slips.
  • Plus: Patients have not been able to reach doctors' offices to create, confirm or cancel appointments, leaving providers unsure of who will show up and staffing challenges.

The intrigue: Beyond social media posts, the hospital and law enforcement have not commented on the situation nor responded to press inquiries. No motive has been cited for the massive attack.

Of note: In recent years, Lurie has faced harassment and even bomb threats for its prominent gender-affirming care clinic for transgender children.

Zoom out: Other children's hospitals have also recently faced cyberattacks, including Saint Anthony Hospital on the Southwest Side, which announced last week that an "unknown actor" had copied patient information.

What's next: Lurie officials haven't told their patients when their network will be back online.

  • For now, they are telling people to call 1-800-543-7362 to contact their physicians.

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