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Cyberattack on Virginia Mason Franciscan Health impacting patients

Hospital officials said some appointments at St. Joseph Medical Center have had to be rescheduled and some health records were taken offline.

TACOMA, Wash. — Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s (VMFH) parent company, CommonSpirit Health, was targeted in a cyberattack. 

Officials with VMFH said the attack is impacting some of its facilities nationwide, including at least one in Pierce County.

Information is still limited on how the cyberattack happened. But as a result, hospital officials said some appointments at St. Joseph Medical Center have had to be rescheduled, which has created concern for many patients and their families.

Mark Kellogg's wife Kathy was scheduled to have a cancerous tumor on her tongue removed on Monday but had to reschedule. 

“It’s scary, anytime you say cancer, that word is just scary,” Kellogg said.

Officials with VMFH said as a precautionary step, they have taken certain IT systems offline, which may include electronic health record systems. They said their facilities are following existing protocols for system outages and are taking steps to minimize the disruption.

“Everything we do today is all on a computer and without it you’re back to the stone age writing on a tablet,” Kellogg said. 

That’s the frustration from Kellogg and other patients at hospitals run by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

“Military getting hacked, and you know banks It’s just about a daily occurrence anymore, doesn’t make it any less scary,” Kellogg said. 

Kathy has already had two bouts with cancer. 

“When she had the breast cancer, that kind of took it out of me,” Kellogg said.

Rescheduling her appointment has been stressful during a difficult time.

“We were concerned it might be a couple weeks to reschedule, you know how scheduling can be for these things, but they were able to get her back in right away, you know two days later,” said Kellogg.

Kellogg said the surgery went well on Wednesday and doctors removed the tumor. He said it’s a huge relief and acknowledged he’s fortunate that the appointment didn’t get delayed much longer.

“You have to deal with the cards that are dealt to you, and my wife has always held up through all of them,” Kellogg said.

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health released a statement Wednesday that read:

“Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is committed to ensuring patient safety and continues to prioritize patients with the most urgent medical conditions. Our hospitals remain open and we encourage anyone experiencing an emergency to seek medical attention immediately. We recognize this is a frustrating time for our patients and staff and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work around the clock to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We can’t thank our heroic staff enough for their hard work and dedication to continue caring for our patients during this difficult time.”

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