Lawsuit Claims Cyberattack At Hospital Killed Infant


Photo: Getty Images

On July 16, 2019, Alabama resident Teiranni Kidd entered Springhill Medical Center in Mobile with the hopes of bringing a child into the world. Tragically, her baby was born with traumatic brain injuries and died shortly after birth. More than two years after that traumatic day, Kidd holds Springhill Medical Center responsible for her child's death and has filed a lawsuit to back up her assertion. While lawsuits against hospitals are fairly common in America, this lawsuit is unlike anything filed anything in modern American history.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Kidd traveled to Mobile on July 16, 2019 with the intention of giving birth to her child in a safe environment. Unfortunately, Springhill Medical Center was enduring a “network security incident" at the time that diminished their technical capabilities. While giving birth, NBC News reports that doctors were unable to perform key tests that would have informed them that an umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. This oversight has been tied to the child's traumatic brain injuries and death nine months later.

Making matters worse, Kidd says she was unaware of the hospital's technical difficulties prior to her arrival. If she had known about the ongoing "network security incident," Kidd says she would have sought care at another hospital.

Kidd's lawsuit is particularly unique because it is the first time that a ransomware attack has been legally tied to the death of an infant. Ransomware attacks or "network security" incidents are described by NBC News as instances when "hackers lock up a victim’s computers and demand payment for a program to make them usable again." More than 800 hospitals and healthcare networks have suffered from ransomware attacks in the U.S. this year and experts expect that number to rise.

“It’s an awful thing, but we’ve been expecting this for years to happen, because when things go wrong, eventually somebody’s going to die,” ransomware analyst Allan Liska explained.

Springhill Medical Center and Kidd have not commented on the matter publicly as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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