A New York City hospital doctor who treated coronavirus patients took her own life on Sunday, according to the Charlottesville Police Department.
Dr. Lorna Breen, 49, was the medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.
City police responded to a call for medical assistance and took Breen to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where she died after suffering self-inflicted injuries, police said.
Police Chief RaShall Brackney mourned her loss ”Front line health care professionals and first responders are not immune to the mental or physical effects of the current pandemic,” “On a daily basis, these professionals operate under the most stressful of circumstances, and the coronavirus has introduced additional stressors.”
Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian released a statement following her death “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.”
Breen’s father, Dr. Philip C. Breen, told the New York Times that his daughter had described what it was like working with coronavirus patients.
She had contracted the coronavirus but returned to work after about a week and a half, Breen told the Times. When the hospital sent her home, Breen’s family brought her to Charlottesville.
“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” he told the Times. “Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It’s a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within the tri-state area and the nation.