ER Doctor On New York's Coronavirus Frontline Commits Suicide

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her.”

A New York emergency room doctor who treated coronavirus patients took her own life on Sunday, according to police.

Dr. Lorna Breen, the medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, died of self-inflicted injuries at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia, while she was staying with her family.

“She was truly in the trenches of the front line,” her father, Dr. Philip C. Breen, told The New York Times. “She tried to do her job, and it killed her.”

She had been diagnosed with the disease, herself, and was back at work after a week and a half off, according to her father.

He also said she had no history of mental illness.

“Of my four children — well I guess now I’ve only got three — no one would’ve predicted that Lorna was having a hard time,” Philip Breen told Business Insider. “She would not even be on that list.”

Philip Breen said he last spoke to his daughter before she went on a 12-hour shift and said she was “distant on the phone,” according to the outlet. She reportedly described gruesome scenes where coronavirus victims were dying before they could be taken out of the ambulance.

At some point after the phone call, she was sent home by the hospital, which prompted her family to move her to their home in Virginia.

“But the sister whose house Lorna died in said she was not the same person anymore,” Philip Breen told BI. “There was nobody in there.”

Lorna Breen’s hospital is a 200-bed facility and, at one point, was treating as many as 170 coronavirus patients a day, per The New York Times.

“Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was,” her father told the outlet. “She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”

And New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital did just that.

“Dr. Breen is a hero who brought the highest ideals of medicine to the challenging front lines of the emergency department. Our focus today is to provide support to her family, friends, and colleagues as they cope with this news during what is already an extraordinarily difficult time,” a statement read.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.

[via TooFab]

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