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Anonymous's Latest Target: Boston Children's Hospital

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the put-down-the-digital-pitchforks dept.

Medicine 329

Brandon Butler writes: "Supporters of the faceless collective known as Anonymous have taken up the cause of a young girl, after the State of Massachusetts removed her from her parents earlier this year. However, the methods used to show support may have unintended consequences, which could impact patient care. On Thursday, the Boston Children's Hospital confirmed that they were subjected to multiple DDoS attacks over the Easter holiday. Said attacks, which have continued throughout the week, aim to take the hospital's website offline. Similar attacks, including website defacement, have also targeted the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. Both organizations are at the heart of a sensitive topic, child welfare and the rights of a parent." Members of Anonymous are now calling for a halt to the attacks.

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All I can say to that is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842691)

who?

Re:All I can say to that is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842731)

You.

Why would you do this!

Re:All I can say to that is... (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 7 months ago | (#46842831)

No, it's just 'Doctor'.

Re:All I can say to that is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842935)

Hospitals and doctors are just an awful symptom of our horrible health care system.
How would you like to sit in an ER all day?

faceless collective? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 7 months ago | (#46842701)

Hardly.. [nytimes.com]

Re:faceless collective? (0)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#46843095)

I got your point, but one person does not the whole collective make in this case.

The whole point of Anonymous is that you can be some 'ub3r-1337!' hacking-type dude, or you can be a housewife who reposts facebook postings to friends about whatever the group posts onto YouTube. Or, you can be anything in-between. With no official leadership and no official dogma/coda/ruleset/philosophy (outside of a few ultra-generic statements that most who act under such a name generally agree on)? That kind of pushes the context of representation onto the membership at large, but that's a problem too: It can be anyone, everyone, or no one, with any skillset or from any walk of life, which means no one person is the "face" (that is, representative) of the organization. Anyone can be, but in reality no one is.

Re:faceless collective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843479)

So in other words, it doesnt exist.

That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46842703)

I've worked in healthcare.
The company I worked for had their services hosted for at a data center. That Data Center also hosted some Banks.
Groups like anonymous think they are performing some social disobedience by DDoS the banks, Also DDoS the actual Data center. While it took a few minutes for the network to switch over there were a few hundred doctors who couldn't access their software, for that time.

XKCD described these attacks like vandalizing a bill board. But it is more like vandalizing a bill board by shooting a gun at it, and not knowing who or what is behind it.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46842777)

Sounds like your post's subject should be reading "This is why hosted services are Bad MmmKaa."

It's all good and well to blame the 'hackers' - and they should be - but next time a critter chews through a cable, lightning strikes, somebody trips over a wire, or something else rather more benign happens and those doctors would have had the same issue.

On the up side, at least there was a switch-over.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842865)

Sometimes people trip and fall down stairs. Sometimes assholes push people down stairs. That doesn't mean "stairs are bad" nor does it make someone who pushes someone down the stairs any less of an asshole.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842919)

When you use something, you have to take into account reality. Whining and crying about 'evil' people will not make something insecure become secure. If you knowingly use something that is insecure, that's on *you*. If some crackers screw you over, that may be on them, but it's still partly your fault.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (0, Flamebait)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 months ago | (#46842943)

If some crackers screw you over, that may be on them, but it's still partly your fault.

So like when a woman is drunk and she gets raped, it's her fault. Gotcha.

Essentially what you're saying is asshats like Anonymous don't have to take personal responsibility for their actions because their victims were asking for it.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842995)

So like when a woman is drunk and she gets raped, it's her fault. Gotcha.

You "Don't blame the victim!" people are completely mindless. Do you know what "false dichotomy" means? It is possible for multiple parties to be at fault. It is possible that the victim is an idiot for putting themselves in a situation that a reasonable person would know not to put themselves into. This doesn't really apply in a situation where you're going about your business and someone decides to rape you, but it does in a situation where you choose to use technology you know is insecure, something that puts other people *at risk* no matter how much you whine and cry about how evil other people are.

And have you ever heard of "negligence," or anything remotely similar to it? Jesus. Get a fucking brain, and drop the "stop blaming the victim" bullshit; it's old and tired, and you have no idea how to use it.

All technology is insecure. The extent unknowable, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843323)

All technology is insecure. The extent is unknowable, to the average person, and to many professionals and experts, because of the complexity and explosively exponential interactions. Add in bad actors (including the regulators and government, as people like Snowden so heroically demonstrated) and everything is vulnerable.

Yes, you can choose safer alternatives in some cases. However hosted vs. what? Run your own servers? Then you have to be an expert in dozens, perhaps hundreds of technologies, if your aim is to achieve maximum (if still imperfect) security. Any choice has risks and benefits.

Life is about tradeoffs. Try to maximize or idealize in one area, and you will be bitten, perhaps taken down, in others. Or even in the area you are focused on, because myopia can make you effectively blind.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 7 months ago | (#46843027)

Really? Looked to me like he was saying that it's partly the fault of people who choose to use something that they know is insecure. He did not say that the crackers are blameless or should not be punished; that was your own delusion, and is a mere straw man.

Victims can indeed share some of the blame, especially in situations like this. The false dilemmas are mind bogglingly stupid.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 months ago | (#46843075)

So then you're agreeing if I leave my door unlocked at night and someone comes in and steals something, it's my fault because the asshat thought it was okay to steal?

Shall we take that twisted logic to the next phase and say if you get shot it's partly your fault because you weren't wearing a bullet-resistant vest? After all, you knowingly wore something which wasn't secure (your shirt/jacket) so obviously it's partly your fault for getting shot.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 7 months ago | (#46843119)

So then you're agreeing if I leave my door unlocked at night and someone comes in and steals something, it's my fault because the asshat thought it was okay to steal?

It is entirely possible that multiple parties could be at fault. Now, there are certain limitations, and that's when it isn't reasonable to expect someone to do something (as it would affect their life in a large way) or they couldn't possibly know how to counter whatever the Bad Thing is. The fact that you're taking this to the extreme without even attempting to understand the general idea of what other people are saying is rather annoying.

The problem with attitudes like yours is that they don't take into account reality. It seems you'd rather ignore reality and whine, cry, and scream about evil people exist, all the while knowingly choosing to be insecure.

Shall we take that twisted logic to the next phase and say if you get shot it's partly your fault because you weren't wearing a bullet-resistant vest?

Shall I take that twisted logic to mean that we should never have developed any sort of security whatsoever, and just whined when something we knew could be prevented happened?

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | about 7 months ago | (#46843261)

So then you're agreeing if I leave my door unlocked at night and someone comes in and steals something, it's my fault because the asshat thought it was okay to steal?

Whereas you are right to a certain extent, there are cases that victims can be partially to blame. In New York State, you can be ticketed for leaving an unattended car running. There have been cases of people reporting their car stolen, and getting ticketed when the police show up.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#46843221)

So like when a woman is drunk and she gets raped, it's her fault. Gotcha.

Your analogy isn't perfectly correct: It's more like 'If some woman walks into the bad part of town and gets drunk, then proceeds to wander through the streets wearing only a negligee and waving around a bag of condoms while screaming "somebody fuck me!", then she bears some of the liability.

Before you react - allow me to clarify what GP did not: She gets none of the legal blame (and should never bear any), but reality dictates that you don't go wandering into a pit of starving bears wearing only a loincloth made of steaks.

Similarly, setting up services in a shared datacenter means you should know up-front the risks of doing so (accidentally cut fiber, datacenter management fuckup, FBI ICE seizure, DDoS, carrier fuckups, etc), and if your services are critical, you damned sure need to plan/mitigate accordingly.

Essentially what you're saying is asshats like Anonymous don't have to take personal responsibility for their actions because their victims were asking for it.

No, GP did not. What he did say was that if you don't know the (pretty damned obvious) risks and mitigations of going into something, then you shouldn't be considered competent enough to do it, and therefore should not do it.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | about 7 months ago | (#46843621)

In addition to considering the risks, consider the limitations and the probabilities. If Boston Children's Hospital had an unlimited IT budget, they could buy the best hardware and security staff money could buy. Similarly, if they were a front for an organized crime operation, they'd want full control over their IT because it's likely they'd be attacked (by law enforcement.) Finally, if this was Kabul Children's Hospital in Afghanistan, they'd want to spend more on security (both physical and virtual) due to the higher likelihood of being attacked (both physically and probably virtually.)

But I suspect BCH doesn't have a security staff armed with machine guns because they estimated the probability of a group of armed individuals attacking the facility at "extremely small." Similarly, they opted for the hosting they did rather than something more secure and expensive because they estimated the probability of an electronic attack as extremely small because who would attack the network of a HOSPITAL for CHILDREN in Boston?

In my opinion, there's a right way to fight this fight -- as the family is doing, through the courts. I think Anonymous is fighting the wrong way and it's going to come around to bite Anonymous in the ass sooner or later. If anyone is caught and prosecuted for this, you bet the prosecution is going to paint them as someone who endangered the lives of sick children and that would resonate strongly in jurors' minds. The defense would have a tough time counteracting that characterization. That characterization is likely to leak into the media's depiction and characterization of Anonymous.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843351)

But some people NEED to be pushed down stairs, so it doesn't always make the pusher an asshole.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46842903)

So you are expecting every small company to afford a large network infrastructure. A lot of the services you enjoy a rather a cheap price, is due to these data centers.
The customers who were not hosted didn't go down... However because they ran the software on a PC under the desk, they had 2x the total outages and often lasted for hours, due to poor infrastructure.

I do blame the "hackers", as they were the ones who went on purpose to damage a computer network. They said to themselves "Self, I am going to do something today that will negatively effect someone else".

Of course he is (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 months ago | (#46842931)

Blame the victim is popular on Slashdot. If a person doesn't have perfect digital security, run all their services themselves, and stay on top of everything, why it is their own fault if they get hacked!

Of course the people who think that then would get extremely angry if someone broke in to their house, despite their piss poor physical security (almost nobody has good security on their house). Basically it is just a mentality of "I can do what I want but you can't do anything to me."

Re:Of course he is (2, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 7 months ago | (#46843055)

Blame the victim is popular on Slashdot.

You know what else is popular? Playing the "You're blaming the victim!" card, and doing it in a way that's utterly absurd. I know you can't fathom how it's possible that *multiple people* can be at fault for something, or that you could say that the victim should have taken reasonable measures to prevent the Bad Thing from happening (In situations where this is reasonable and possible, of course.) without saying that the attacker is blameless or deserves no punishment, but it is possible.

Funnily enough, he even said: "It's all good and well to blame the 'hackers' - and they should be".

Re:Of course he is (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46843085)

Now, now, it's quite literally blaming the victim of the crime for the crime. That's what's going on here.

Re:Of course he is (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 7 months ago | (#46843161)

Slashdot is, unfortunately, a hotbed of educated people with little common sense.

As a side note, a DDOS attack is the lamest form of protest I can imagine.

Re:Of course he is (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 7 months ago | (#46843497)

The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance, so is the price of hosting services on the internet. Hell i have to keep a close eye on my personal NAS, i get about 5 attempts to hack every single day. Also DDOS isnt breaking into anyones house, its a million people ringing your doorbell to the point no one else can ring it.

Re:Of course he is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843549)

Pointing out that if BCH did not kidnap children (Justina), then Anonymous would have no reason to go after them.
2 wrongs don't make a right, but increasing the exposure of the Justina Pelletier case can cause nothing but good.

Re:Of course he is (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46843619)

if BCH did not kidnap children (Justina), then Anonymous would have no reason to go after them.

It is not anyone from Anonymous' place to judge that there was a kidnapping.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (3, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46842945)

So you are expecting every small company to afford a large network infrastructure

Not at all - I do expect the large network infrastructure providers to be able to harden themselves against such attacks, especially given their clients.

Like I said - at least it had a switch-over, so although doctors could not access things for 'minutes' (how many are we talking about anyway?), they should have been mostly unaffected.

That said - some absolutely critical things should not be placed under the total care of service providers. Would you do away with your HDD/SSD and rely entirely on cloud storage?

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (5, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 7 months ago | (#46842973)

So you are expecting every small company to afford a large network infrastructure.

No. But I do expect companies that require their hosted services in order to function have backup plans should the service go down.

If in this case of the original comment about several hundred doctors not being able to access their information when the banks were under attack...several hundred doctors isn't a small company. That's a large medical organization. Or if whoever was running the service was treating it like an overloaded shared server then they get what they pay for.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | about 7 months ago | (#46843147)

So you are expecting every small company to afford a large network infrastructure.

Small companies like banks and hospitals..... sure.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about 7 months ago | (#46843333)

I pay 9$ a month for hosting of my projects server through webfaction [webfaction.com] which is substantially less than any connection I could get that included a static IP. There is really no excuse except ignorance for hosting your website "under your desk" except ignorance. Obviously there are issues with shared hosting for places like hospitals, but once you have to deal with stuff like HIPPA there is even less excuse for under the desk hosting.

which could impact patient care (5, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 7 months ago | (#46842819)

Attacks to a website could impact patient care? If there is any truth at all to this (which I really doubt) then people should be made aware of it immediately. Thanks Anonymous, I really want to know if I'm going to get patient care at a hospital where that care could be compromised just by a problem on their website.

Re:which could impact patient care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842929)

Mmm depends. But unlikely with a system as large as Boston Hospital.

If a doctor for some reason is on call and got paged and he need to remote into the corporate network via VPN and Anonymous is eating up all of the enterprise's internet bandwidth that MD wouldn't be able to look at an X-Ray or MRI for example.

So, while care wouldn't really be compromised it could be delayed which may or may not cause issues. Over all I'd think the chances are remote. But possible.

Re:which could impact patient care (1)

guyniraxn (1579409) | about 7 months ago | (#46842979)

Exactly. This is another made up scare. The NetworkWorld article linked says the danger isn't in the DDOS attack but in the possibility that the evil hackers will "pivot" and probe for information. When they do that, vital life support systems assumed to be connected to the internet will malfunction because they presumably can't handle someone browsing for whatever actionable information NetworkWorld assumes Anonymous is after.

Re:which could impact patient care (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46842993)

Yes, it could.

1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization.

2. The web sites now offer more services to patients and other providers. Such as logging in and able to send their Medical Records, Book and Appointment, or securely send a message to your doctor.

3. If you kill the Router (That devices that will need to direct you to the website) as the device wouldn't expect that type of load, it causes problems with other places it is trying to work with. As the software will often need to talk to other locations. For example Lab work is often done at different locations then sent over to your Dr. for review. If the network goes down the Dr. may not get the results.

In short you do not know how things are connected, and could be combined with other things that you don't expect.

To say, It is only a website doesn't mean DDoS the site will not cause other problems.

Re:which could impact patient care (5, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 7 months ago | (#46843105)

1. Children's hospitals receive donations and nail research grants with an alarming deftness. Boston Children's Hospital is, according to their own architecture, the best [trimedmedia.com] . There's no shortage of money. They did have some layoffs a couple of years ago [wbur.org] , but with a ridiculous savings ratio (255 jobs, costing 89.5 million annually, constituting somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3% of their budget.)

2. Their primary website is located at 134.174.13.251 (childrenshospital.org). Patient info retrieval is hosted on 134.174.13.5 (apps.childrenshospital.org). There is a booking form located on the main site, but at any rate it's working just fine now.

Re:which could impact patient care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843239)

And both were attacked, as were other systems.

Re:which could impact patient care (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 7 months ago | (#46843311)

In short you do not know how things are connected, and could be combined with other things that you don't expect.

I don't know how things are connected, but I do know how things should be connected. That is, for any such organization, their public website should be hosted remotely on a hosting provider somewhere. It shouldn't be a door directly into the hospital. the patient records, drug delivery control software, or even the computerized toilets. Hosting the website locally is a big red lag that someone doesn't know what they are doing and puts patients at risk.

Re:which could impact patient care (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#46843325)

Yes, it could.

1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization.

One would think that HIPAA would nix that idea. I could be wrong, but patient records on the same direct wiring as the public Internet? I'd not only fire the architect, I'd have the SOB castrated to insure that his stupidity didn't pass on to any future progeny. It ain't that expensive to buy a decent pair of firewalls and segment things out.

2. The web sites now offer more services to patients and other providers. Such as logging in and able to send their Medical Records, Book and Appointment, or securely send a message to your doctor.

So do banking sites (money transfers, billpay, etc), which often run even leaner than hospitals (at least the smaller banks and credit unions do) - they also know enough that a breach on their site could send them to insolvency, so they plan and spend appropriately. You;d think that a hospital, who stands to literally kill people if their stuff is breached, would do the same. Please let me know which ones do not, so I can avoid ever using their services.

3. If you kill the Router (That devices that will need to direct you to the website) as the device wouldn't expect that type of load, it causes problems with other places it is trying to work with.

*cough*port channels*cough*vlans*cough*ACLs*cough*...

As the software will often need to talk to other locations. For example Lab work is often done at different locations then sent over to your Dr. for review. If the network goes down the Dr. may not get the results.

...which is why the humble fax machine and telephone still exists: Call lab, lab sends fax, etc...

Long story short - even on a budget, if it's important, there are workarounds.

Re:which could impact patient care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843337)

Most hospitals are operating at a loss

BULLSHIT. Most hospitals are making fat cash hand over fist, regardless of "non-profit" status.

US healthcare is overpriced by 10x. Where is that other 9x going? To insurance companies and to the owners of hospitals. That's where.

Re:which could impact patient care (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 7 months ago | (#46843533)

"1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization."

Then they should not be running internet facing machines if they cant afford robust hosting and compatmentalization. This is like saying 'well we cant afford elevators so we will jsut use the stairs for everything.' If you have IT infrastructure, its costs BUCKETS of money to run it, if you cant afford that then you have no business running internet facing services.

Re:which could impact patient care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843591)

1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure.

That would be a HIPPA violation, revoking the hospital's legitimate existence. Given that hospitals do in fact exist, you are wrong.

If you kill the Router (That devices that will need to direct you to the website)

No. DNS does direction. Load balancers are generally what goes down to a DDoS. Routers are most often oblivious accomplices, not the source of failure.

Re:which could impact patient care (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843631)

1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization.

Only in the same sense that every record and every movie operates at a loss.

Re:which could impact patient care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843069)

The DDOS also screwed the hospital's email, which was delayed or bounced, delaying or losing vital information like X rays or test results.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46843399)

If I'm in a hospital or doctors office and the quality of my care is dependent on the stability of their network, there's definitely something very wrong.

Re:That is why social Hacking is Bad MmmKaa. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46843625)

The both your organization and the banks fucked up. You shouldn't have outsourced something so critical to your business if thats the case.

You most certainly don't connect devices and networks for medical devices to a public network, if you did, you shouldn't be fired, you should be fired at with a large caliber weapon for not knowing what the fuck you were doing. YOU put peoples lives at risk.

What the hell is wrong with you that you have software that has to be used offsite for medical purposes?

Note: I've worked in health care too, NOTHING critical EVER is allowed to rely on something that isn't ENTIRELY under the hospitals control. If you need to talk to the outside world for basic medical care, you absolutely, beyond any argument FUCKED UP.

And in this case, I'm willing to bet that the hospital had no care issues, their just trying to play politics and say how evil this attack is, trying to play bleeding hearts and ignorance.

Thoughtless, irresponsible hijinks like this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842705)

... are what discredit them as being anything other than a bunch of malcontents.

Re:Thoughtless, irresponsible hijinks like this .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842735)

...which is certainly convient for somebody, isn't it?

What we would like to know (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 7 months ago | (#46842709)

Is, why the girl was removed from her parents? Seems kind of hard to take sides on this without the full story. if someone could provide a link to the issues with the girl that'd be great.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 7 months ago | (#46842753)

If I recall the story the parents and her primary care physician disagreed with the hospital on her treatment (and her illness). The hospital decided the parents and the doctor were acting in a manner unsafe for the child and took her.

Personally a bunch of BS, the families own doctor selected the course of treatment, why should the hospital have the ability to override and steal a child?

Re:What we would like to know (1)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46842815)

the way i understand it is that your family doctor may have privileges in the hospital where you are staying, but the hospital's own doctor's make the final decision on the diagnosis and the treatment. The chief of the department to the attending and the residents. your doctor is there to answer their questions unless he is one of the above in the pecking order. even then depending on the diagnosis, you may have several departments in the hospital have to agree on a diagnosis and treatment plan and course of action

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842871)

Conrad Murray?

Re:What we would like to know (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843061)

The family's own doctor selected a course of treatment _without_ performing the standard diagnostic test to indicate the condition. Also, this family went forum-shopping for a doctor until they found one that gave the diagnosis they wanted.

On the surface this looks like a classic case of Münchausen syndrome by proxy. Other clues--the hospital said that the girl seemed less tense when her parents weren't around.

I was taken away from my alcoholic mother for a year. I met two other kids (brother and sister) while in foster care whose parents pimped them out.

It's a drastic measure to take kids away from their parents, but the kids will survive, whether it turns out to have been warranted or not. Calm the f* down.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 7 months ago | (#46843201)

Are you implying I'm not calm? I don't understand that last sentence...

If the doctor is not doing his job, perhaps the hospital should move to have his license to practice medicine revoked. That seems like the best way to solve this problem. If he truly does invasive medical procedures without cause he should be removed from the profession to protect us all.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843359)

Just that whenever someone hears about child protective services taking a child away, they usually freak out, unless the family is obviously raving lunatics, which is rarely the case (because families tend to hide their problems). Yes, there are times when the state needlessly takes a kid. But how should they err--on the side of false negatives or false positives? Which is more harmful, accidentally taking a kid away from a family, or allowing physical or psychological abuse to continue? Normally, the latter is by far the greater risk. A kid taken away from their parents is not going to be permanently scarred for life; kids aren't that fragile.

As for the diagnosis, maybe the doctor was justified in not ordering the diagnostic muscle biopsy. Maybe not. All we know is that a hospital committee (composed of multiple doctors) came to one conclusion, and a single doctor--the family's doctor--came to another. And the hospital went to the state to take the child away _temporarily_ until things are cleared up.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843367)

Two different hospitals and two different doctors. The doctor who made the desired diagnosis realized that he was out of his depth at some point and referred the patient to the 2nd hospital. The 2nd hospital (with more expertise in the relevant areas) examined the facts and made a different diagnosis. Despite best efforts misdiagnoses happen all the time because medicine and biology are extremely complex. People don't lose their license over it; they learn and move on. In borderline cases the disagreement can persist and in that case, the State usually goes with the institution with the better track record (as they did here).

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843525)

That is not true at all. The doctor never "Realized he was wrong" In fact the primary care physician has even helped the family fight for her child back. You also seem to ignore the fact that reports indicate that the little girl is now loosing her hair and can barely eat. You also ignore the fact that the hospital is apparently known for pulling stunts like this. Right now they have over 40 children locked away fromtheir parents with similar claims.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842787)

One hospital diagnosed her with an actual physical ailment. The second one said it was psychological and petitioned for her to be removed from her parents, saying they were abusively overmedicating her. Understandably, the whole thing's pretty controversial.

Re:What we would like to know (5, Informative)

Tucan (60206) | about 7 months ago | (#46842817)

Here is the story:

http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843019)

Finally something balanced. And yes, the attack was real, and yes it was extended. The hospital turned off email on Wednesday because of the volume and nature of the email coming in.

Re:What we would like to know (3, Interesting)

greyparrot (895758) | about 7 months ago | (#46843031)

I would like to see the followup on this story. Did she do better after being removed from her parents? That would be the test, in part, for Munchausen. The whole thing has become very political.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843281)

No.
The parents went to BCH, after their doctor at Tufts Medical Center who diagnosed Mitochondrial disease (and was treating her for it) went to BCH. Apparently the disease runs in their family.
At BCH, she fell into the hands of another set of doctors who said the first diagnosis was wrong, and started treating her for somatoform disorder. Her condition degenerated from being able to walk and being in skating competitions, to now being wheelchair bound with BCH's treatment (which apparently consists of little but pep talks like "the pain is all in your mind. Focus!"). The parents simply wanted to move her to her previous hospital and continue her previous treatment which was working. This request (and the understandable dismay at "What do you mean we can't?!?") is what caused them to lose custody.

Boston Children's Hospital, rather than lose face and be slapped with a gigantic law suit, and in order to keep a valuable lab specimen for somatoform disorder (apparently most papers for it originate there, and it seems to be diagnosed there more than anywhere else), decided to kidnap Justina and make her officially into a lab guinea pig (experimental treatments are allowed for children they take custody of this way). This is not the first time BCH has kidnapped a child like this either.

As for Justina, she has been reduced to smuggling "please get me out of here" type notes to her parents hidden in Oragami. That should tell anyone all they need to know about this case.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843583)

Sources? I mean, I trust you and all, being an AC and everything...but it'd be kinda cool to...you know...see where you're getting your information before we assume it's correct.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 7 months ago | (#46843353)

At this point she's probably psychologically damaged enough that the symptoms would continue or worsen.

Remember "vaccine affected Cheerleader"? Nucking futs.

Re:What we would like to know (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 7 months ago | (#46843185)

It seems odd that she still hasn't had a muscle biopsy to confirm the diagnosis because of concerns over pain and anesthesia even though she's already had surgery to insert a port into her digestive tract.

Re:What we would like to know (3, Informative)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 7 months ago | (#46842967)

We can't know the details, because releasing them would be a violation of patient health information privacy laws. So we only get to hear the story from the side of the parents. We do know the physicians at the hospital have diagnosed the child with medical child abuse. A key point form the Slate article someone else linked is that 1 in 10 children who are abused medically, die. It isn't something that is taken lightly.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842969)

The child's doctor diagnosed her with an actual physical illness (a genetic disorder involving mitochondria), and recommended her parents take her to a doctor at Boston Children's Hospital.

Boston Children's Hospital, being the caring facility that it is, decided "nah, she's really just crazy" and locked her in a psychiatric ward for a year while petitioning the state to take custody of her and forbid her parents their parental rights under the theory that they were "medically abusing her" by taking her to a doctor.

No, really. Apparently taking your child to see a doctor can allow the hospital to lock your kid in a psychiatric ward for a year, despite having an actual diagnosed illness from an actual doctor.

You can see why Anonymous might be upset.

Re:What we would like to know (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46843157)

The same thing would probably happen to most of their members?

Re:What we would like to know (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843219)

The doctor diagnosed her with an actual physical illness without running the tests needed to diagnose her. Boston Children's Hospital did some of those tests, and they indicated that she probably didn't have it.

They said her parents were medically abusing her because they took her to a large number of doctors and appeared to be doing forum-shopping until they found a diagnosis they liked - mitochondrial disease is claimed by roughly 50% of parents who are ultimately found guilty of medical abuse. Her parents also had a port installed in her digestive tract, which was fairly risky (due to the surgery and increased chance of infection until it's removed) and wouldn't have helped with her disease, if it was real.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843297)

No, the Dr. at Tufts made a presumptive diagnosis of mitochondrial disorder. He didn't confirm it. Then he did surgery on her to install a port to flush her GI tract. If he was concerned about anaesthesia for the biopsy, that concern apparently didn't extend to the surgery. Given the expertise at Children's, I suspect that by now the biopsies and/or genetic tests have been done and come back negative.

Re:What we would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843553)

The children's hospital is refusing to do the biopsy, and right now that girl is loosing her hair and can no longer walk, but don't worry, its all in her and her parents head.

Dumbass Collective (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 7 months ago | (#46842755)

aka Fucktard Mob, just one symptom of a fucktard country.

Impacting patient care? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46842795)

If the smooth operation of a hospital's web site has any effect on patient care, I'm not sure I would entrust my mortal shell to such a hospital.

Re:Impacting patient care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842915)

If the hospital hosts its internet site on the same circuit as the rest of the enterprise uses for VPN, email and other services (which is quite possible) then you're going to have issues.

Your mortal shell will be fine. There's a thing called downtime procedures.

Re:Impacting patient care? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843067)

Not just the website. Attacks were made on email servers, VPN endpoints (for a multi-site hospital), and substantial attempts were made to access patient record data.

Stupidity in action. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842801)

The case in which the girl has been removed from the custody of her parents
is complex, and exactly what is both best for the child and correct in the sense
of justice for all is not easily determined even when you know the back story.

Anonymous doesn't have the right to act as both judge and jury, and they
fucked up badly this time. I personally hope they get slapped very hard indeed.

Re:Stupidity in action. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842883)

21st century lynch mob in action

Lame (0)

Pope (17780) | about 7 months ago | (#46842881)

Anonymous are a bunch of cunts.

"Members of Anonymous" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46842983)

You still don't understand how this works, do you?

Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state power (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46843021)

I heard about it on the radio a couple of weeks ago. This case is an absolutely appalling abuse of power.

Advocates Fight for Justina Pelletier, Teen Held by State in Psych Ward [go.com]

One day Justina Pelletier was a seemingly healthy teenager performing jumps and spirals at a skating show and six weeks later, on Feb. 10, 2013, she was in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Boston after a severe bout with the flu, refusing to eat and barely able to walk.

Her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier of West Hartford, Conn., say their daughter was diagnosed and being treated at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body. Justina's sister Jessica, 25, is also being treated for the disease.

But three days later, a team of doctors at Boston Children's said her symptoms were psychosomatic, according to the family. The hospital then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, as required by law, because they suspected the parents of child abuse for subjecting their daughter to invasive medical treatments and denying her mental health therapy. ... more [go.com]

Pelletier Family Files Habeas Corpus Pleading, Points Out Disturbing Facts About Boston Children’s Hospital [michaelgraham.com]

... Among other things, the Petition also argues that the requirement to issue detailed written findings of fact and conclusions of law justifying DCF’s intervention has never been met. Never has the juvenile court issued such required findings of fact or conclusions of law.

“This case comes down to the simple fact that new doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), who had no experience with Justina, came up with a different diagnosis than her expert treating physicians at Tufts Medical Center,” said Staver. “The state cannot take children from their parents when the parents make reasonable choices for their medical care. This case is outrageous,” said Staver. .... Justina has gone from a competitive figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair,” said Staver.

  Fourteen months ago, Justina, now fifteen years old, was seized by Massachusetts DCF after her parents, at the direction of Dr. Mark Korson, took her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see Dr. Alejandro Flores, a gastroenterologist who had previously treated Justina when he worked at Tufts Medical Center before he transferred to BCH. Dr. Korson, Chief of Metabolic Services at Tufts Medical Center, was Justina’s primary physician who was treating her for Mitochondrial disease. Instead of allowing Justina to see Dr. Flores, Justina saw Dr. Jurriaan Peters, a BCH resident only seven months out of medical school. He brought in Dr. Simona Bujoreanu, a psychologist who coauthored an article in which she contends that in up to 50% of children who present with physical complaints, the complaints are not physical but mental. Without consulting with Dr. Korson or Flores, Dr. Bujoreanu rendered a diagnosis of Somatoform disorder. Without a thorough review of her care, she opined that Justina’s physical complaints were mental, not physical. BCH then presented the family with a new treatment plan to discontinue all medical care and medications and which forbade any second opinions. When the parents refused to sign the new treatment plan and requested that Justina be discharged so they could take her back to Tufts Medical Center, BCH called DCF, and DCF prevented the family from discharging Justina. Fourteen months later, DCF still retains custody of Justina.

  For fourteen months DCF has refused to provide adequate medical care, refused to allow Justina access to a clergy or communion, and even refused to provide any meaningful education for her. .... more [michaelgraham.com]

Re:Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state powe (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 7 months ago | (#46843383)

Bunch of nonsense, all you hear is the parents' (who are possibly abusing their daughter) side.

Have you ever heard of Munchausen by proxy syndrome? I can't imagine you haven't.

Re:Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state powe (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46843461)

Munchausen by proxy? That would be tough since they have so little access to her. If anything this is Munchausen by state agency.

Why she has gotten progressively worse in state care over the last year plus? Might that be a sign that treating a physical ailment by psychological means may be ... "ineffective"?

Re:Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state powe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843513)

Little access? They had like 15 _years_ of access to her. What in the fuck are you carrying on about?

As for getting "worse", it could be because the symptoms are in her mind, which is now damaged. Do you remember that nutty cheerleader who had all these crazy symptoms supposedly from vaccines? Any idiot could tell it was in her head, either intentionally or not.

The true test will be to see if she gets better in 5 years, or if they develop better tests for Mitochondrial syndrome.

Re:Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state powe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843429)

So, long story short: parents are crazy, girl is sick, state is pissed off about parents' craziness. DDoSing the hospital helps how?

Re:Unbelievable and disgusting abuse of state powe (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46843489)

You didn't really get the back story right, and I never claimed that DDoSing the hospital helps at all. I have to say it is odd that you think that.

How Does Anyonymous Even Exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843155)

No seriously, with the entire Internet being mapped, interceptors at every jump point, how can there even be an "anyonymous" group? They're just a phone call, or rather a phone hack away to pick-your-letter-agency. It's hard to buy these Anonymous Hackers news nowadays, there's gotta me more to it than meets the eye.

Adolescent script kiddies (2, Informative)

jopet (538074) | about 7 months ago | (#46843227)

Some probably adolescent script kiddies with an ego by far exceeding their intelligence try to play digital lynch mob.
What pathetic little cunts.
Not for the first time showing how much worse than individual stupidity their collective stupditiy can be.

Re:Adolescent script kiddies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843545)

you probably just described 90% of anonymous... the other 10% are people with the maturity of an prepubescent script kiddy with an ego far exceeding their intelligence. And judging by the members I ran into at a conference last year... yeah I still strongly believe that...

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843231)

I just saw a popup add on Slashdot.

You finally did it. I bet /. is in Microsoft's back pocket as well.

Whatever next.

What about Justina? (3, Insightful)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about 7 months ago | (#46843393)

It's been a year now since Justina was removed from her parents.

It should be painfully obvious if her health issues were as a result of her parents' psychological pressure since she hasn't been under their influence for over a year. So why don't any of the "advocates" fighting for the parents actually show us how Justina's doing now?

If Justina is FINE now, then it would be quite obvious that the Doctors at the Boston Children's Hospital were correct. If she's still suffering from the same symptoms, then the parents have a much stronger case.

Re:What about Justina? (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 7 months ago | (#46843543)

So you think psychological problems just goes away like the flick of a switch? It doesn't. Many mental diseases are permanent and treatment just lessens the problems or make the symptom free periods longer.

That includes the mental scars from abuse.

Re:What about Justina? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843581)

She is not fine, in fact she is degrading. Her hair is falling out and she can no longer even walk.

"State takes custody of teenage girl" (2)

Onuma (947856) | about 7 months ago | (#46843431)

If she were my child, there would be no way I would let them stop me from getting her back. If paperwork and appeals didn't do the trick, I would very quickly escalate the actions I took to ensure her safety and care under my responsibility. That might mean intimidation or violence...so be it. They threw the first stone.

The State has absolutely no reason to take these parents' child from them.

Re:"State takes custody of teenage girl" (2)

TC Wilcox (954812) | about 7 months ago | (#46843511)

If she were my child, there would be no way I would let them stop me from getting her back. If paperwork and appeals didn't do the trick, I would very quickly escalate the actions I took to ensure her safety and care under my responsibility. That might mean intimidation or violence...so be it. They threw the first stone. The State has absolutely no reason to take these parents' child from them.

I agree with you that that The State had no reason to take the child, but be careful. The State views those that use violence against it as the most vile criminals and would not hesitate to have you thrown in prison. If you are in prison how can you help your child?

Doubts (1)

asmcmnemonic (2442408) | about 7 months ago | (#46843481)

From one angle, why do I have a feeling that this possiblility of the system being complex and fragile was deliberately intended to use the patients as potential human-shields against Anonymous? And from another angle, assuming that complexity and fragility was a false claim aimed for trickery, wouldn't that confuse Anonymous' attacks to possibly control and lessen the potential damage caused by their attacks on the healthcare servers? If those healthcare centers are cooperating with the corrupted jurisdictional system, sooner or later, things wouldn't look good at all, neither the cyberspace nor in the streets against the officials. Another way to see it would be the possibility that the system is indeed complex and fragile, that it does affect the patients' alarm system, leading to patients getting either severly harmed or death. Those attacks wouldn't justify the prevention of harm just to return Justina home, and it wouldn't support Anonymous for their cause to help the powerless against perhaps the corporational bullies and corrupts. Classifying Anonymous as a group of criminals that tries to help a girl that was forcefully taken away from her parents return back home is absurd. Being a criminal is one thing, while being a vigilante for the sake of helping the weak is something totally different.

Members calling for a halt to the attacks. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 7 months ago | (#46843503)

"The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

Incidentally, an avalanche is generally considered a destructive force.

Digital lynchings (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 7 months ago | (#46843615)

More and more, Anonymous is looking like a bunch of reactionary vigilante thugs out to lynch anyone they consider to be in the wrong.

I assume this is the Justina Case (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46843629)

I assume this is the Justina Case

https://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcast/sgu/457 has a segment on it.

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