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Navigating our way through a hospital ransomware attack: ethical considerations in delivering acute orthopaedic care
  1. Thomas William Hoffman1,
  2. Joseph Frederick Baker1,2
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Surgery, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas William Hoffman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand; hoffman.tw{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Ransomware attacks on healthcare systems are becoming more prevalent globally. In May 2021, Waikato District Health Board in New Zealand was devastated by a major attack that crippled its information technology system. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery faced a number of challenges to the way they delivered care including, patient assessment and investigations, the deferral of elective surgery, and communication and patient confidentiality. These issues are explored through the lens of the four key principles of medical ethics in the hope that they will provide some guidance to future departments who may experience such attacks.

  • information technology
  • ethics- medical

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Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Not applicable.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors JFB conceived the presented idea. TWH wrote the manuscript with support from JFB Both authors were involved in editing the manuscript and producing its final version. TWH is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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