Catholic hospital network Ascension said it expects to make progress in recovering from a ransomware attack by the end of the Memorial Day weekend.

The nonprofit’s more than 140 hospitals and senior care centers have struggled to distribute medication, handle test results and intake emergency cases for more than two weeks following a devastating cyberattack by the Black Basta ransomware gang.

On Friday, an Ascension spokesperson said in a statement that they are “hopeful that after the weekend, our patients and clinicians will see progress across our points of care.” 

“Many of our vendors and partners have also started the process of reconnecting to our network and resuming services with Ascension, which should help to accelerate our overall recovery,” the spokesperson said. “Until that time, please know that our hospitals and facilities remain open and are providing care.”

On Wednesday, the hospital network said it held the first of several regular meetings with partners and vendors as they slowly restore connections that were severed by the attack — which took electronic record systems offline and forced doctors and nurses to handle most taks through other means. 

Ascension said it continues to work with Mandiant and other cybersecurity experts in the private sector and government to “rebuild and restore” systems. 

They provided specific webpages for hospitals in each state, allowing residents to see what the current status of most facilities currently is. 

‘We are just waiting’

Local news outlets in dozens of states have spoken to nurses and doctors exasperated by the sudden loss of technology. 

One nurse at a Michigan hospital called the situation “so dangerous” and told the Detroit Free Press that they have to use fax machines to order prescriptions, lab work and imaging. 

“We are waiting four hours for head CT (scan) results on somebody having a stroke or a brain bleed,” one nurse at Detroit’s Ascension St. John Hospital told the newspaper. “We are just waiting. I don’t know why they haven’t at least paused the ambulances and accepting transfers because we physically … don’t have the capacity to care for them right now.”

Without access to electronic record systems, nurses have also struggled to know what blood tests or medications correspond to which patients. Healthcare workers have to use text threads and Google Docs to track medications and patients are being asked to bring in their own documentation to help. 

Some health workers have criticized Ascension ordering them not to explain the situation to patients who become angry when they are told that tests cannot be done or the wrong medication was delivered. 

A nurse at a Texas Ascension hospital said wait times have tripled as hospital workers scramble to get lab results back. 

At least one class action lawsuit has been filed against Ascension as millions of patients prepare for the reality that their information was accessed by the ransomware gang. 

The White House said several federal agencies are involved in the recovery effort, and the Department of Health and Human Services warned other hospital networks to be on the lookout for Black Basta ransomware attackers last week. 

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