NYC emergency room doctor commits suicide after becoming distraught over coronavirus death toll, family says

‘She tried to do her job, and it killed her’

Dr. Lorna M. Breen
Dr. Lorna M. Breen (Chris Leary Photography)

An emergency room doctor who worked at an upper Manhattan hospital killed herself after becoming distraught over the coronavirus pandemic, her family said.

Dr. Lorna M. Breen, 49, was the medical director of NewYork-Presbyterian The Allen Hospital, Fox 5 reports.

Her father, Dr. Philip C. Breen, told the New York Times that she contracted the coronavirus at work and returned a week-and-a-half later after recuperating but was sent home by the hospital again.

She then went to stay with her family in Charlottesville, Virginia.

On Sunday, the Charlottesville Police Department responded to a call seeking medical assistance.

“The victim was taken to U.V.A. Hospital for treatment, but later succumbed to self-inflicted injuries,” a spokesman for the Charlottesville Police Department said.

Dr. Lorna Breen died on Sunday.

Just days before her death, the doctor described how painful it was to see her patients die and the devastating scenes of the toll the coronavirus took on patients to her father, New York Times reports.

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” Dr. Phillip Breen said. “She was truly in the trenches of the front line.”

Dr. Phillip Breen says his daughter had no history of mental illness, but that during their final conversation, she seemed detached.

“Make sure she’s praised as a hero because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died,” Dr. Phillip Breen said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or chat online.

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