Anne Marie Davy expected to go for a brain scan and an MRI on Friday only to learn these were cancelled due to the cyber attack.
The mother of four has been receiving cancer treatment for the past four years.
She had surgery at Dublin’s Mater Hospital at the end of last month. It went well but complications afterwards left her with headaches, problems with her vision and blood clots.
The procedures due to be done last Friday were precautionary and to investigate these issues. The forced cancellations prolong her wait for clarity.
“It’s likely everything will be OK, and I am sure it will be, but you don’t know until you have the tests. That’s why they are there,” she said.
Ms Davy, originally from Scotland but settled in Galway with her family, is a patient advocate with the Irish Cancer Society.
She realises there are serious implications for many others because of this attack. She thinks the hackers responsible must be held to account for the attack on the HSE. Patients are not the only victims, she said.
“I have had amazing care. Everyone here has been fantastic and it is unfair that this has thrown up such chaos.
“This is a healthcare system. People are depending on it — nurses, doctors and patients — for their treatment plans.
"Hopefully it won’t impact on my treatment but it has the potential to put patients’ lives at risk if it delays access to information in a timely manner or causes delays.
“It must be so frustrating for the doctors. I am only one person in one hospital, but this is a countrywide issue.”
Ms Davy was able to have her brain scan yesterday afternoon but it is unclear when the MRI can take place.
Irish Patients’ Association director Stephen McMahon said it is important the cause of the ransomware attack is resolved to protect against similar events in the future.
“The key thing is to fix the problem and make sure the route in is closed. The contact tracing for how that virus got into the system is as important as the fix to it,” he said.
“Our healthcare system is in an unhealthy state already with the build-up of demands there before and during Covid-19.
"Now we have this additional burden on patients that is going to create an awful amount of stress and continued impact on the system.
“We can only hope the business continuity plans that the HSE has will minimise the risk to patients and their quality of care as they wait to reconnect with the system.”
The Irish Kidney Association chief executive Carol Moore said patients receiving dialysis treatment have not been impacted but ongoing communications with the HSE have been disrupted.
While this has not impeded the delivery of Covid jabs for kidney patients, she said it has had an impact on ongoing research and communications related to the immunisation campaign.
“We can’t exchange documents in relation to planning and development, and we couldn’t use Zoom or Teams for meetings with people,” she said.
“We agree on messages around vaccinations and communications for people who have queries for us, and it is harder to have communications with the HSE for those.”