May 17, 2020

[PHOTOS] The 13 Creepiest Abandoned Hospitals Around the World

Patient Care
Global healthcare
Patient Care
Global healthcare
3 min
Would you walk down the hallway of this abandoned hospital in Kuwait City, Kuwait?
There is a certain fascination to ruins – the way time weathers their physical demeanor but they still have a story to tell. Some of the most famo...

There is a certain fascination to ruins – the way time weathers their physical demeanor but they still have a story to tell. Some of the most famous abandoned sites, and creepiest, are hospitals. While they once healed the sick, they’re now decomposing from the elements. 

Medical equipment sits rusting, hospital beds wait for the next patient, and waiting rooms hold stale air rather than family members.

We take a look at 13 of the spookiest abandoned hospitals from around the world.

1. Severalls Mental Hospital – Colchester, England

The 300-acre Severalls Hospital was an insane asylum and once housed 2,000 patients back when it was opened in 1913 where doctors would perform experiments on the patients. In 2005, arson destroyed the hospital’s main hall.

2. Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital – New York City, New York

Built in 1838, the 600,000 sq. ft. Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital features a Greek revival style. Last year the New York Times reported that Steiner Studios have committed $345 million to transform the complex into a high-tech media hub.

3. Linda Vista Hospital – Los Angeles, California

Originally called the Santa Fe Railroad Hospital, Linda Vista Hospital in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles is reported to be haunted. The hospital opened in 1905 and closed in 1991 due to a decline in the quality of care. According to the Los Angeles Times, developers are planning to turn the six-story complex into apartments for low-income seniors. (Neil Kremer photos)

4. Renwick Smallpox Hospital –Roosevelt Island, New York

The 100-bed hospital opened in New York’s Roosevelt Island in 1856 and was the first hospital in the country to admit victims of contagion and plague. The building was abandoned in the early 1950s.

5. University of Kiel Clinic – Germany

Photographer Jan Bommes took this image of an abandoned clinic at the University of Kiel in Germany. The school is the largest, oldest and most prestigious university in the German state Schleswig-Holstein. The clinic was part of the university’s department of neurosurgery.

6. Trenton Psychiatric Hospital – Trenton, New Jersey

What once served as a lunatic asylum for the state of New Jersey is now home to terrifying stories of doctors who, in an effort to “cure” patients, began performing unnecessary surgeries, including the removal of organs, without consent. Founder Dr. Henry Cotton was said to have a “progressive attitude in treating his patients.”

7. Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Louisville, Kentucky

Considered one of the most terrifying hospitals in the US, Waverly Hills is an abandoned hospital that held upwards of 150 tuberculosis patients, and rumors include a nurse trying to give herself an abortion before killing herself.

8. Tranquille Sanitorium – Kamloops, British Columbia

Originally built to house tuberculosis patients, Tranquille Sanitorium has actually been featured in numerous TV shows and movies, while also getting a ton of reports of hauntings within its walls.

9. Beelitz-Heilstatten –Brandenburg, Germany

This enormous hospital consisted of 60 buildings and was used extensively during wartime. It was once home to a young Adolf Hitler during WWI and has been filmed in movies such as The Pianist.

10. Willard Asylum – Willard, New York

The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane (that’s really its name) is supposedly haunted. The asylum is surrounded by numerous unmarked graves for its deceased residents.

11. “The Blue Hospital” – Germany

There’s not much information on this hospital other than the fact that it was once somewhere in the former German Democratic Republic, now northeast Germany. (Michael Kotter photos)

12. Unknown Hospital #1 – Pula, Croatia

The only thing we know about this hospital is that it has been abandoned since 2003.

13. Unknown Hospital #2 – Kuwait City, Kuwait

Similar to Unknown Hospital #1, all we know is that this hospital is in downtown Kuwait City and has been tremendously weathered by time. (Patrick Makhoul photos)

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Jun 13, 2021

How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats

Jonathan Miles
6 min
Jonathan Miles, Head of Strategic Intelligence and Security Research at Mimecast, tells us how the healthcare sector can protect itself from attacks

One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority.  In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.

The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics. 

From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world. 

Going digital 

The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years. 

This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate. 

Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.

To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care. 

Strengthening defences

Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change. 

It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device. 

These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.

Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement: 
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.

In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.

Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents. 

Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.

This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents. 
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.

Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.

As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.  

Fighting future threats

With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.

To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced. 

This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.

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