A top emergency room doctor in New York City died by suicide Sunday, according to her father and police officials.
Dr. Lorna M. Breen worked in the E.R. at the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in Manhattan and had been treated patients infected with the novel coronavirus. She died by suicide while staying with her family in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” Dr. Philip C. Breen, her father, said according to the New York Times.
Philip Breen said that his daughter contracted the virus and took about a week and a half off to recover. She went back to work and was sent home again by the facility. Her family then tried to help the 49-year-old.
Dr. Lorna M. Breen died a hero and deserves to be remembered as such. She is a casualty of war who witnessed too much death and horror and trauma to continue. May she rest in peace. https://t.co/4XZ8UMDNhf
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) April 27, 2020
Breen’s father said that she appeared to be detached but did not have a history of mental illness, according to the NYT. He added that she described all of the patients who were dying from the virus to him, the NYT reported.
“She was truly in the trenches of the front line,” according to Philip Breen. “Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.” (RELATED: Cuomo: ‘We Don’t Need Any Additional Ventilators’)
The hospital called her “a hero who brought the highest ideals of medicine to the challenging front lines of the emergency department” in a statement to the NYT.
“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,” the statement continued.
A cause of death was not mentioned, according to the NYT.