Ascension nurse gives firsthand account of cyberattack's impact on health system

The cyberattack against Ascension Health started on May 8th, when it was first detected and it’s still going, knocking out computer systems.

FOX 2 spoke with a nurse who works for one of our local hospitals who wanted to remain anonymous, but gave us an inside look.

"It’s tough. But it’s kind of rewarding too because we’re still able to care for the patients," the nurse said.

The Ascension nurse says they have experienced the technological fallout from the attack, firsthand.

FOX 2: "Now when you first walked in after this hack what was going through your mind? How are we going to take care of our patients?"

The ransomware attack — shutting down everyday tasks, affecting patient wait times, and prescriptions — and they've even had to dust off the fax machine.

"It’s been challenging because we’ve relied on the computers so long, now we’ve had to go back to paper," the nurse said. "Radiology would get the orders on the computer, instead we have to handwrite the order and make sure it is delivered to them."

That means what was once as simple as the click of a button — can take a lot longer.

"We usually brag about our turnaround time," the nurse said. "It’s less than three hours. You’re not seeing that. So the patients have to have a little patience of their own."

This nurse says the systems they have in place are working well — their management is helping. And on the floor their colleagues are dedicated to serving patients.

Despite the cyber setback, she wants patients to know — you will receive care and good will always prevail.

"We’re working closer together, because we all have the heart where patient care comes first," she said. "That’s something that no hacker can take away is our heartfelt service to others."

Ascension sent a statement reading in part, it is 'working with leading cybersecurity experts to rebuild and restore systems and connections with partners to the Ascension Network. It will continue to provide care to patients."

For more on Ascension cybersecurity updates on the current situation, go HERE.