Multiple U.S. Hospitals Have Reportedly Been Targeted in Ransomware Attack

Federal agencies released an advisory Wednesday, warning the health sector about a “credible” cyber crime threat to U.S. hospitals.

The joint warning was issued by the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It urged hospitals and health-provides to increase security measures, as experts have received information about cyber criminals who were using Ryuk ransomware, which encrypts a victim’s files and denies them access to their service or data until the ransom is paid. The attacks could also lead to data theft as well as the disruption of healthcare services, which is especially concerning as hospitals across the country deal with another surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to the Associated Press, Milwaukee-based cyber intelligence firm Hold Security has been monitoring the ransomware operation for more than a year. The firm’s CEO/founder Alex Holden said the group of hackers claims to have ransomed more than 30 U.S. health facilities and plans to attack over 400 more.

The AP reports Holden had notified federal agents about recent infection attempts last Friday. Though it’s unclear how many hospitals were targeted, Holden said some “may have beaten back infections.” One of the affected facilities was Sky Lakes Medical Center in Oregon. The hospital released a Facebook statement on Tuesday confirming its computer system had been compromised.

“Earlier today, Sky Lakes Medical Center was the victim of a ransomware attack … right now we have no evidence that patient information has been compromised,” the post read. “However, communications with the medical center will be a little complicated until we can get our systems operating again. Our entire Sky Lakes team is working to counter this attack, and we will keep you updated on the ongoing details of our efforts to return business back to normal. Emergency and Urgent care remain available. Many scheduled procedures will go on as scheduled.”

The advisory comes about a month after Universal Health Services announced a ransomware attack had affected 250 of its U.S. hospitals and clinics. Doctors and nurses at the facilities were reportedly forced to slow lab work and rely on manual record-keeping.

“We are most concerned with ransomware attacks which have the potential to disrupt patient care operations and risk patient safety,” John Riggi, senior cybersecurity adviser to the American Hospital Association, said at the time. “We believe any cyberattack against any hospital or health system is a threat-to-life crime and should be responded to and pursued as such by the government.”

Related Articles

More Complex

Sign up for the Complex Newsletter for breaking news, events, and unique stories.

Follow Complex on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok

Source Article

Read more

Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought ‘9/11 attack was 7/11 attack’

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: ‘Florida Man wouldn’t even do this stuff’ Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series MORE (D) defended his mental acuity and took shots at President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: ‘Florida Man wouldn’t even do this stuff’ Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence’s chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE during an interview airing Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Anchor Norah O’Donnell asked Biden about claims from the Trump campaign that he suffers from dementia, a general catch-all medical term for symptoms ranging from memory loss to impairment of problem-solving abilities.

“[You are] 78 years old. [You’ll be] 82 after four years. Donald Trump says you have dementia and it’s getting worse,” O’Donnell told Biden.

“Hey, the same guy who thought that the 911 attack was a 7-Eleven attack,” Biden responded, jokingly. “He’s talking about dementia?”

“All I can say to the American people is watch me, is see what I’ve done, is see what I’m going to do. Look at me,” Biden continued. “Compare our physical and mental acuity. I’m happy to have that comparison.”

The Trump campaign has sought to suggest in recent months that videos showing Biden speaking unclearly at times are evidence of the former vice president’s mental decline. Biden’s campaign has accused the Trump campaign in response of making light of the stutter from which the former vice president has suffered since he was a child.

“Did something happen to Joe Biden?” the text of an ad questioning his mental faculties produced by the Trump campaign asked in August.

Biden, who would be the oldest president ever elected, at 77, has frequently dismissed criticism on the manner from the Trump campaign. Trump himself was the oldest president ever elected upon his victory in 2016, when he was 70 years old.

“I’ve been tested and I’m constantly tested,” Biden said in June. “Look, all you gotta do is watch me, and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”

Source Article

Read more

My heart attack could have been coronavirus

Brian May thinks his heart attack may have been caused by coronavirus.



Brian May wearing a costume posing for the camera


© Bang Showbiz
Brian May

The 72-year-old rocker endured a “small heart attack” back in May this year, and at the time he said he was puzzled as to how the attack could have happened, because he is a “healthy guy” with “good blood pressure”.

And now, Brian thinks he might have gotten to the bottom of his health scare, as he believes he could have picked up coronavirus at the beginning of the year when his band Queen were still touring.

He said: “I think it’s possible that I had the COVID virus early on in the tour of Korea, Japan and Australia in January, and got through it, but it’s thickened the blood, which apparently it does, and that could have been the trigger that gave me the heart attack.

“I thought it was too early to get [COVID] but the evidence now seems to be that the virus was around.”

Brian previously said his heart attack lasted for “40 minutes”, and although he claimed he only experienced mild chest pain, he needed three tubes fitted into his arteries to help his blood flow.

And following his operation, Brian says it was his wife Anita who became his saving grace, as she helped nurse him back to health.

He added to the Daily Express newspaper: “She was incredible. She totally saved my life because I couldn’t do anything and she just kind of nursed me, so I will forever be in her debt. She did an incredible job on me.”

Brian’s heart attack was made worse by an unrelated gardening incident which occurred just days before, in which he suffered a torn muscle, and a compressed sciatic nerve.

Speaking about his injuries at the time, he said: “I had an MRI and yes, I did have a rip in my gluteus maximus. It’s so easy to make a connection, there’s a rip there so that must be the cause of the pain, end of story. And no other tests were done.

“Now, a week later I’m still in agony. I mean real agony. I wanted to jump at some points. I could not believe the pain. And people are saying, ‘That’s not like a ripped muscle’, so eventually I had another MRI.

“But this one I had one of the lower spine and sure enough we would discover that I had a compressed sciatic nerve, quite severely compressed, which is why I felt like someone had been putting a screwdriver in my back the entire time. It was excruciating …

“So that’s one side of the story, and I’m a lot better now. I’m free of that terrible pain that actually destroys your mind …”

Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more

Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform Sanders: Progressives will work to ‘rally the American people’ if Biden wins MORE (I-Vt.) lashed out at President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: ‘I would transition from the oil industry’ MORE in a new video Friday, criticizing the president for attacking “socialized medicine” during the presidential debate this week against Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: ‘I would transition from the oil industry’ MORE.

“Last night during the debate, Donald Trump attacked Medicare for All as [socialized medicine], and what I find very amusing is that I didn’t hear him complain when he received the best socialized medical care in the world for free at a 100 percent government-run hospital,” Sanders said in the video shared to Twitter.

“So, interesting, what we have is a Donald Trump who loves, enjoys benefits from socialism for himself,” Sanders continued. “But for the rest of us he wants rugged individualism.”

The video features footage of the president complimenting the medical care that he received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19, as well as footage of Trump during the Thursday debate and more.

In one clip Trump is seen saying “You know, I have such great access to medical” and “it’s good to be president, I guess.” 

Trump during the Thursday debate accused Biden of wanting to eliminate private health insurance.

“Under what he wants to do, which will basically be socialized medicine, he won’t even have a choice, they want to terminate 180 million plans,” Trump said.  

Later, he also claimed that vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Obama says he voted by mail: ‘It’s not as tough as a lot of folks think’ Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis MORE (D-Calif.) has also pushed for “socialized medicine.”

“He wants socialized medicine. And it’s not that he wants it. His vice president, she is more liberal than Bernie Sanders and wants it even more. Bernie Sanders wants it. The Democrats want it,” Trump said. 

The Biden campaign’s plan for health care reform does not back removing private health insurance plans. Instead, Biden’s health plan will build on ObamaCare and will include a government-run “public option” that is similar to Medicare.

A public option would compete with private health care plans to give users the best prices, and patients can choose whether they want to enroll.

Biden during

Read more

Disparities Abound in Chinese Heart Attack Care

Continued quality improvement in acute MI may be possible in the U.S. given lessons learned from another country with major geographic and other disparities in acute MI care and mortality: China.

Rural hospitals and those with fewer resources showed opportunities for improved care in China, according to findings from two registries now published online in JAMA Network Open.

“Many researchers believe that we have solved the STEMI [ST-segment elevation MI] problem, but the improvement in mortality has plateaued and we have made very little progress in reperfusion times for patients transferred from a non-PCI [percutaneous coronary intervention] center or outcomes for those with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest or cardiogenic shock,” wrote Timothy Henry, MD, of The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, and James Jollis, MD, of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, in an accompanying commentary.

The two studies suggest the U.S. still has a lead over China in acute MI care — but will it be able to keep it? The U.S. has been hurt by a fracturing of the national acute MI registry into multiple competing registries, which poses challenges to regional collaboration and quality improvement, Henry and Jollis suggested.

Meanwhile, they wrote, “China has rapidly embraced the best quality improvement models of the U.S.” and is even poised to surpass the collaborative systems of care in the States.

Geographic Variation

China saw persistent regional variations in the use of reperfusion and guideline-recommended medical therapy, one group reported from registry data.

Despite the launch of national health care reform in 2009, hospitals in the country’s center were 17% less likely to provide MI treatments to eligible patients than centers in western areas in 2011-2015 (adjusted OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.76-0.91), according to Yingling Zhou, MD, PhD, of Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital.

“In the present study, we observed significant differences in the use of guideline-recommended treatments across China, with hospitals in the Western region having the best performance, particularly for clopidogrel [Plavix], ACEIs/ARBs [angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers], and statins,” the research group said.

Zhou’s team noted that the western region is the least economically developed region in China and has been subject to special government investment in public health starting in the year 2000.

Eastern China also improved processes of MI care from 2001-2006 to 2011-2015.

Across the board, use of guideline-recommended treatments increased from 2001-2006 to 2011-2015, and there was some improvement in care variation, study authors said.

“However, care delivery remains suboptimal and disparities remained across China when compared with that in the United States and United Kingdom where reperfusion therapy, β-blockers, and ACEIs/ARBs are used at much higher rates. Additional measures should be taken to further narrow regional care disparity across the country,” Zhou and colleagues urged.

Their cross-sectional study was based on the Patient-Centered Evaluative Assessment of Cardiac Events–Retrospective AMI project. A random sampling yielded 27,046 patients hospitalized for acute MI at 153 hospitals across China.

The country was divided into three geographic regions: eastern, central, and western. There were marked regional variations

Read more

Homeless More Likely to Die After Heart Attack | Health News

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Homeless people are three times more likely to die after a heart attack than other patients, a new study finds.

“Our study shows a dramatically higher rate of mortality after heart attacks in people experiencing homelessness compared to non-homeless patients,” said researcher Dr. Samantha Liauw of the University of Toronto. “More research is needed to discover the reasons for this disparity in outcomes so that the chances of survival can be improved in this vulnerable population.”

Liauw and her colleagues compared more than 2,800 heart attack patients admitted to a Toronto hospital between 2008 and 2017. Of those, 75 were homeless.

Among homeless patients, 19% died in the hospital, compared with 6% of others. Homeless patients were younger than others and more likely to be men.

Eighty-four percent of homeless patients smoked compared to half of patients who were not homeless. Rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes were similar between the groups.

Also, more homeless patients suffered from mental conditions. They were more likely than others to abuse alcohol and drugs and were more likely to suffer a serious complication of heart attack called cardiogenic shock that occurs when the heart cannot supply enough blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. They were more likely than other patients to go into cardiac arrest.

Both groups received medications, testing and stents, but the rate of stenting was lower in the homeless (80% versus 90% in non-homeless patients).

The findings were scheduled to be presented Wednesday at a virtual meeting of the 2020 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“The elevated risk at a younger age could be related to chronic stress from being homeless, higher rates of smoking, poverty, and unreliable access to healthy food. Lack of trust in the medical system, poor access to health care for chronic conditions and slower receipt of emergency therapies may also have contributed,” Liauw said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology, which will participate in the meeting.

Although both patient groups received timely treatment, she suspects the symptom start time listed for homeless people may be inaccurate, resulting in a longer gap before therapy began.

“This illustrates that we need new methods to study this disadvantaged part of society,” Liauw said.

Findings presented at meetings are considered preliminary until they’re published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Source Article

Read more

Utah heart attack victim competes for medical care amid surge in Covid-19 cases

The virus now had the ability to potentially kill a patient — his patient — even if she wasn’t infected.

Hours before, Terry, a 47-year-old mother and wife, had suffered a heart attack in her Herriman, Utah, home. According to her sister, she had to be revived four times in the ambulance on the way to the nearest hospital.

Once there, the medical staff and her doctor quickly determined Terry would likely die if she didn’t get the more sophisticated life-saving treatment found in an intensive care unit of a larger hospital.

“He (the doctor) told us right away, we’re doing everything we can to try and find a hospital that can take Laurie, and we can’t find one,” Stephanie Deer, Terry’s sister, said.

“If you would have seen the look on that doctor’s face, he was incredulous. He couldn’t believe he was telling us this.”

The coronavirus pandemic will get better next year but first we're going to have a 'horrible winter,' top doctor says

Deer and her sister are not alone.

The state is experiencing “one of the worst (coronavirus) outbreaks in the country,” Utah Gov. Garry Herbert said Tuesday.

As a result, patients suffering other life-threatening medical events — non-Covid related — are in a dangerous competition for limited specialized medical care.

Utah is in the middle of the worst period for new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. The state is among the 14 that reported their peak Covid-19 hospitalizations in the past week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The state’s total ICU usage was at almost 70%, Herbert said Tuesday, and almost 16% of the state’s ICU beds are used to treat Covid-19 patients.

On Friday, the University of Utah hospital’s ICU was at 104% capacity.

Covid surge taking a toll on Utah doctors

Dr. Emily Spivak, among the doctors helping treat Covid patients in Utah, feels frustrated and upset by the surge in cases — because she said she knows this shouldn’t be happening. Coronavirus is preventable by hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing.

She reached her breaking point in a parking lot outside the level one trauma center where she works in Salt Lake City.

“Well I was trying so hard not to,” she said, referring to her tears. “I mean honestly this is just super frustrating.”

Spivak said she sees many people in public no longer following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — and believes they’ve just grown complacent.

“I don’t see an end. No one’s doing anything to stop what’s happening,” she said. “It’s kind of like people just are going out and living their lives not realizing that they are exhausting our healthcare system.”

Deer said she witnessed the frustration of doctors firsthand.

“I watched those nurses call for hours, trying other systems, doing everything they could, I mean desperate.” she said.

“I don’t know how the doctors and nurses and things are going to be able to keep this up when your whole life, your whole profession is dedicated to saving people’s lives and you can’t access medical care for a patient.”

And she

Read more

Younger women at higher risk for death after heart attack

Younger women who suffer a heart attack are more likely than men to die in the decade after surgery, a new study finds.

It included more than 400 women and nearly 1,700 men, average age 45, who had a first heart attack between 2000 and 2016.

During an average follow-up of more than 11 years, there were no statistically significant differences between men and women for deaths while in the hospital, or for heart-related deaths.

However, women had a 1.6-fold increased risk of dying from other causes during the follow-up, according to the study published this week in the European Heart Journal.

“Cardiovascular deaths occurred in 73 men and 21 women, 4.4% versus 5.3% respectively, over a median follow-up time of 11.2 years,” said study leader Dr. Ron Blankstein, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“However, when excluding deaths that occurred in the hospital, there were 157 deaths in men and 54 deaths in women from all causes during the follow-up period: 9.5% versus 13.5% respectively, which is a significant difference, and a greater proportion of women died from causes other than cardiovascular problems, 8.4% versus 5.4% respectively,” Blankstein said in a journal news release.

The study also found that women were less likely than men to undergo invasive procedures after admission to the hospital with a heart attack, or to be treated with certain medications when they were discharged, such as aspirin, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins.

“It’s important to note that overall most heart attacks in people under the age of 50 occur in men. Only 19% of the people in this study were women. However, women who experience a heart attack at a young age often present with similar symptoms as men, are more likely to have diabetes, have lower socioeconomic status and ultimately are more likely to die in the longer term,” Blankstein noted.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on heart attacks.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Source Article

Read more

Should I Stop My Diabetes Medicine? FDA Hearings to Determine Risk of Heart Attack

Today marks the beginning of FDA hearings on Avandia (rosiglitazone), a popular drug for diabetes. The hearing centers on whether Avandia places a patient at higher risk of a heart attack.

Patients taking Avandia may not realize that one of the primary reasons doctors use Avandia is not only to lower one’s blood sugar, but to thereby prevent heart attacks. Thus the question is highly relevant for every diabetic taking this medication.

There is no question that Avandia lowers blood sugar – that is easily proven. The blood glucose-lowering effects can be demonstrated over the course of weeks and months, with evidence of on-going decrease in blood sugar levels for years. And since it is well known that high blood sugar (diabetes) is associated with increased risk of heart attacks, it is only logical that lowering blood sugar levels should decrease the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Yet this is not necessarily so. Might Avandia be doing something else as yet unidentified within the body? This is often the case with drugs. In fact, it has long been known that taking Avandia increases the risk of liver problems. That is why your doctor checks the liver enzymes in your blood frequently. In certain patients Avandia also causes fluid retention that in some cases is associated with congestive heart failure. Clearly, Avandia does do something in the body besides lower blood sugar, but the question remains, which is more dangerous: to take the medicine or not?

There are many medications on the market for diabetes. Of course, insulin is the prototype and some might think the final answer. But patients do not like to inject themselves and so a number of oral medicines have been developed. Also, taking insulin tends to cause weight gain in Type 2 diabetics, and since weight gain is a big part of the problem to begin with, to some degree it worsens the situation.

Knowing all this, should you stop taking Avandia? At this point the answer is we don’t know. Since the drug was released I have seen a very few patients suffer from excess fluid retention, but since that problem was recognized, the drug has not been advised for patients with swelling or heart failure. To date, only a few of my patients have had abnormal liver tests, and these have all been reversible with discontinuation of the drug. For my patients, Avandia has been effective at lowering blood sugars.

Yet the question remains, what about heart attacks? This week the FDA will be reviewing data from scientific trials regarding the use of Avandia (rosiglitazone), as well as health claims data related to its use. When all the information is gathered, statisticians and physicians will have more accurate information on which to make an informed decision. If we already knew the answer, the hearings would be unnecessary.

But what should you do in the meantime? Here is one way to think about the problem: if the answer has not become clear over 10 …

Read more