Thursday, April 06, 2017

"Chicago Med" shows a hospital's computers hit by a ransomware attack, endangering patients

Tonight, Thursday, April 6, 2017, “Chicago Med” on NBC ran an episode called “Cntl Alt” (directed by Valerie Weiss), which opens with nurses finding that their tablets lock, and then the logon terminals lock up with a ransomware demand.

The hospital administrator Sharon Goodwin (Epatha Merkensen) refuses to pay the ransom. It may be too much of a spoiler to reveal that one of the surgeons did, when the screens come up – to save a patient’s life.   The hospital has to go on backup and manual procedures.  MRI’s cannot be done.  Monitoring equipment fails in the OR doing an operation.

Of course, one wonders why the hospital didn’t have an image backup somewhere. Is this what would happen?

There are interesting medical cases.  A bullet in the leg travels to the heart, necessitating bypass surgery. A young woman has PSP, progressive supranuclear palsy. And there is an outbreak of a fungal infection traced (eventually by contact tracing) to a used car.

The program was interrupted briefly by Lester Holt on NBC announcing Trump’s air strikes in Syria as retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

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