'Grey's Anatomy's Terrifying Hacking Plot Is Way Too Real
Having everything computerized seems like a good idea — it makes life easier, and in the case of a hospital like Grey Sloan, it makes records easy to find and labs easy to read... except when a hacker breaks into your network and takes the whole thing over. Who's hacking the Grey's Anatomy hospital? This fall finale was too real, y'all.
For all the talk of and hacking emails and deleting hard drives and alleged Russian interference in American issues, I don't think that we take the threat of hacking seriously enough. And neither did the people at Grey Sloan — they use their computer network for everything, from labs to blood work to charts to monitors, and things are just swimmingly along one day, hunky dory, when all of the monitors in the hospital stop working. And then the doors. And then the lights. And then the patient records. And then the ransom note comes — an anonymous hacker group wants approximately 5,000 bitcoin and they'll give the hospital its network back. Webber, who doesn't know what a bitcoin is, is all, I'll give them $5,000 now, and the IT guy is much more like, um, dude, that's like $20 million. Webber has five large, but he does not have $20 million. But do you know who does? Jackson Avery! Which is probably why the hospital was hacked in the first place. They knew someone had the dollars.
Bailey wants Jackson to give the hackers the money, and the FBI disagrees — if Grey Sloan ponies up, they could do it again to another hospital. If that doesn't scare you enough, it should, since this story is basically ripped from the headlines. According to CBS This Morning, "the medical industry is the new number one target for hackers ... and the largest American hospital hacked [in 2017] was a 550-bed facility in Buffalo." Hackers held the trauma unit of the Erie County Medical Center hostage for six whole weeks. The hospital did not opt to pay the $44,000 ransom and resorted, like they did on Grey's Anatomy, to pen and paper over the time during which they couldn't use their systems.
At Grey Sloan, things went from bad to worse — Meredith couldn't get blood for a patient and has an intern give his blood directly into the patient's open body; Alex doesn't know what medicine to give a dying boy; and in the hubbub, Jo's abusive husband was allowed to sneak into the hospital. None of this is good. And the worst part is that we don't even know who is attacking the hospital's computers. The FBI says it could take weeks to figure it out. But these patients don't have weeks. Some don't have minutes. The hackers will kill before they'll give back the system. This was me the whole time:
Fortunately, the doctors are doing what they can while they can — Webber, who is apparently a dinosaur, teaches the new interns some tricks that he had to use before there were computers. I know, if one can remember such a time, right? April and the interns are skeptical, but he turns out to be right, and it's very satisfying. Just because you kids have had your fingers on a touchscreen since the womb doesn't mean you know everything about everything, OK? Webber is the OG, the supreme of Grey Sloan, and he always will be.
Grey's Anatomy comes back Jan. 18, and the hospital will be in a state of chaos until then. For now, the doctors at Grey Sloan just have to figure out how to make it work, and viewers have to sit at home (ack) and ponder the hospital's fate.