Pennsylvania health system hit by cyberattack

MarketsAssociated Press

A Pennsylvania health system was taking steps late Tuesday to restore its computer network after being caught up in a worldwide cyberattack that patients reported forced the postponement of some surgeries.

Heritage Valley Health System said its two hospitals west of Pittsburgh and its satellite offices were struck by the same data-scrambling software that caused disruption at some government offices and major corporations around the globe.

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Spokeswoman Suzanne Sakson said the health system adopted the same emergency procedures it uses during any disaster. She said Heritage Valley had to make "operational adjustments" to ensure patient safety but declined to provide further details.

Late Tuesday, the health system said "corrective measures supplied by our antivirus software vendor have been developed and are being implemented and tested."

Patients were posting on social media that some surgeries were rescheduled as a result of the computer woes.

A woman who was at Heritage Valley Beaver to get her gallbladder removed said she knew there was a problem when she heard a voice come over a loudspeaker that directed staffers to come to a command center.

Brenda Pisarsky, 56, a shipping office worker from Wellsville, Ohio, told The Associated Press she noticed that computer monitors were off and saw nurses scurrying around with stacks of paperwork.

Pisarsky said she had already been prepped for surgery so doctors went through with her procedure, but that she was told some other patients were less fortunate and had to have their operations rescheduled.

"Thank God I was able to get my surgery!" she posted on Facebook.

Another patient reported on Facebook that he was all set to be wheeled into the operating room when the computers went down, and his surgery had to be postponed a day.

Heritage Valley provides care for residents of western Pennsylvania, parts of eastern Ohio and the panhandle of West Virginia. Its two hospitals have about 500 beds.