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Ransomware Attack Disrupts London Hospitals, Impacting Cancer Patient

Johanna Groothuizen, a 36-year-old cancer patient, faced a brutal choice after a ransomware attack on London hospitals. The attack disrupted Synnovis, a pathology services provider, leading to the cancellation of over 1,500 medical procedures.

Hanna, diagnosed with aggressive HER2-positive breast cancer, was scheduled for a skin-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Due to the attack, she had to choose between a simple mastectomy or delaying surgery. With Synnovis unable to support blood transfusions, the hospital deemed reconstruction too risky.

Faced with this, Hanna opted for the simple mastectomy, losing her right breast. The attack also depleted blood reserves, necessitating urgent blood donations.

Five weeks on, services are still disrupted, with 4,913 acute outpatient appointments and 1,391 elective procedures postponed. Hanna's ordeal highlights the devastating impact of cyberattacks on healthcare.

HER2-positive breast cancer: a type of breast cancer that grows and spreads faster due to higher levels of the HER2 protein.

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