The Armentières hospital in France encountered a significant cyber threat accompanied by a ransom demand starting at 2 a.m. on Sunday, February 11, 2024. To tackle the situation, a crisis unit comprising security experts from the hospital and the Lille CHR was immediately formed. As a precautionary measure, all computers in the hospital were disconnected from the network while efforts to resolve the issue commenced. Consequently, the hospital’s emergency department had to be shut down until Monday morning, disrupting its ability to admit new patients.
During the closure of the emergency department, patients in need of urgent medical attention were redirected to other hospitals within the Lille Metropolis. Despite the closure, caregivers remained on-site at the Armentières hospital to respond to any life-threatening emergencies that might arise. However, routine medical services were halted as the hospital grappled with the cyber-attack and worked to restore its computer systems. Meanwhile, the maternity emergency department continued to operate to provide necessary care to expectant mothers and newborns.
Fortunately, the impact of the cyber attack was mitigated for existing patients at the Armentières hospital. The medical records of the approximately 130 patients currently receiving care were printed out to ensure continuity of their treatment and follow-up. This proactive measure aimed to minimize disruptions in patient care and maintain the quality of healthcare services amidst the cyber incident. Despite facing this unprecedented attack, hospital staff remained committed to providing essential medical care to their patients while addressing the cybersecurity threat.