KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee Children’s Hospital officials are still dealing with what they are calling a cybersecurity issue more than 24-hours after it was first announced to the public.
One Kingsport mother said she and her 11-year-old daughter, Amelia, a lifelong patient of ETCH, were close to making the nearly two-hour trip to Knoxville for a CT scan before learning of the hospital’s technology issues.
Tosha Love’s daughter first started her journey at ETCH when she was a baby, born 15-and-a-half weeks early with a hole in her heart.
“It’s just horrible to think that anybody would try to get into a hospital technology anyways, let alone a children’s hospital,” Love said.
Love said she first learned ETCH was a victim of a cybersecurity issue after calling the hospital about a text message.
“I had called the hospital yesterday because I had gotten a weird text message Sunday, normally for a CT scan with sedation you arrive 90-minutes early, this text message had stated to arrive 30-minutes early,” said Love, adding she thought it was odd. “I called and they had said that their systems were down, they didn’t know if they’d be able to do it.”
Love called back Tuesday morning. She said hospital staff told her they would be unable to perform the CT scan to get a closer look at Amelia’s cyst.
“I called them today and told them not to even worry about rescheduling us in, just to get the emergency kids in,” Love said.
Love added she felt sympathy to the staff she described as her second family.
“I feel bad for the hospital because they are all great people there and we’ve never, we’ve never had a bad experience there,” Love said.
Cybersecurity expert Bridgitte Mase with Boston Government Services said while she can’t speak about this specific incident, she said it’s important for adults to keep an eye on their own information and on their children’s information.
“Whether it’s an adult or a child everybody has a social security number,” Mase said. “It’s a little more important from the standpoint of something they can do with that information if a hacker were to receive of an adult Social Security number, there’s a little more they can do with that because you have finances tied to that.”
Mase also added people can keep track of their information via the three main credit bureaus. They will notify a person when their information is being used. If you see your information being used without your permission, call the credit bureaus.
In the meantime, Love said she hopes the hospital has a contingency plan in place for these types of situations. She added she will reschedule her daughter’s appointment once the cybersecurity issue is resolved.