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Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital located at 225 East Chicago Avenue in the Gold Coast neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

A network outage affecting internet and phone service at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has lasted for more than 24 hours.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere

Lurie Children’s Hospital takes systems offline, investigates ‘cybersecurity matter’

A systems outage at Lurie Children’s Hospital that began Wednesday is a result of a cybersecurity matter, the hospital said.

“We are taking this very seriously, are investigating with the support of leading experts, and are working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies. As part of our response to this matter, we have taken network systems offline,” the hospital said in a statement Thursday night.

The hospital is open and continuing to provide care to patients and is working to establish a call center, the statement said.

The outage is affecting the phone, email and electronic systems at all of Lurie’s 55 offices in the Chicago area.

Jennifer Sabourin’s 9-year-old daughter was to undergo an endoscopy on Wednesday and have surgery in three weeks. Sabourin said she worries about privacy and a data breach, but her main concern is that the hospital is not yet functioning as normal.

“What surprises me is how long it is taking to resolve the issue and get the network restored,” she said Friday. “The effects of this breach are going to last long after the network is restored.”

Sabourin’s daughter had to fast Tuesday night and didn’t go to school Wednesday. Sabourin, who lives in the western suburbs, took the day off work Wednesday.

After arriving at Lurie Children’s Hospital and checking in at the building’s security desk and the reception area for the procedure, Sabourin was told the appointment was canceled.

“I was so angry, I was probably unreasonably angry,” she said Thursday. “I was mostly frustrated that there was no way to contact patients to say we want you to be aware of what’s happening.”

“I will be even more frustrated if her surgery gets affected because of this,” she said.

Natalie Davis, who lives in Michigan, decided not to make the two-hour drive Thursday for an appointment after seeing parents on social media saying their appointments had been canceled.

“Obviously, we understood what was happening was out of their control, but it is still just a little frustrating,” Davis told the Sun-Times via Facebook Messenger on Thursday.

Davis said the appointment was scheduled eight months ago for her 9-month-old son, who was born with right-sided complete tibial hemimelia, a condition where a child is born with a shorter shinbone or without one.

“It would have been helpful if there was someone answering questions people were commenting,” she said.

Jason Castillo’s 7-month-old daughter was supposed to have heart surgery on Wednesday, he said. She was waiting for anesthesia when the surgery was called off, he said.

“It’s disappointing to know that such a respected and prestigious institution didn’t have the proper security in place,” he said.

He said his daughter’s surgery luckily wasn’t an emergency, but he wished initial communications from the hospital regarding the outage were clearer.

“We wanted this surgery done and to move forward with our lives past the surgery, but we’re very lucky in a lot of ways that we don’t have a life or death situation right now,” he said.

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