The entire communication network of Iceland’s largest hospital, Landspítali University Hospital, went down for over five hours yesterday.
The computer network and phone lines in the main hospital building by Hringbraut went dead around 11 am and did not come back into function until after 4 pm. All satellite sites in the Reykjavík area were also affected.
No calls could be made to or from Landspítali or within the hospital. Over twentyfive hundred computers were disconnected leaving a large portion of the workforce idle and unable to access to medical records or file new ones. X-ray images and other important patient data was inaccesible.
The situation was serious thoughout the hospital but nowhere as serious as in the emergency room.
Cell phones were of limited use because the hospital cell phone directory could not be retrieved from the network. Employees improvised, communicating for example by walkie-talkies.
Staff were nervous but no major incidents have been reported.
Jóhannes M. Gunnarsson, Landspítali’s chief medical executive said on Iceland State Radio RÚV that this type of malfunction was “dead serious”.