Nearly three weeks after a ransomware attack was launched against computers at UF Health-The Villages Hospital and Leesburg Regional Medical Center, there seems to be no end in sight for suffering patients and staff.
The cyberattack began on Memorial Day, the same week a new COO took over at the two hospitals.
A Villager spent most of Friday at the Leesburg ER after arriving there at 9 p.m. Thursday for tests.
He described the ER as looking like a “refugee camp” and said staffers were “losing their sense of humor.” He asked that his identity be kept confidential because he is in need of ongoing medical care from the hospital.
He spoke with many fellow care seekers who had been waiting for 24 hours or more. Some gave up and ultimately went home.
Those who stayed said the ER was frigid and felt like a “meat locker” with some seeking warmth outside. However, he added that the “shared misery” was creating new friendships among patients.
It’s also been tough going for the staff at both hospitals. With many of the computers systems paralyzed by the attack, they have had to resort to time consuming pen and paper record keeping. Testing facilities in around The Villages have reportedly had to dust off the fax machines because information cannot be transmitted to the hospitals by computer.
The hospital has been tight-lipped about the cyberattack, initially dismissing it as a computer glitch in an article in The Villages Daily Sun.
In a recent email, University of Florida Health Shands CEO Edward Jimenez scolded Villages-News.com for taking a “negative tone” with its coverage of the situation.
“As you can imagine, only limited information can be shared,” he said.
Villages-News.com reached out to Jimenez for an update, but has yet to hear back from him.