NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital has died by suicide after telling family members about the horrors of treating coronavirus patients.
Dr. Lorna Breen had returned to the emergency room in mid-April after her own bout with the virus, but the hospital sent her back home again to recuperate. Her family intervened and brought her to Charlottesville, Virginia where she took her own life on Sunday.
Her dad, Dr. Philip Breen, told the New York Times the last time they spoke he could tell something was off. His daughter seemed detached as she described the onslaught of patients who were dying before they could be taken out of ambulances.
Co-workers say the 49-year-old doctor was a talented, well-respected physician and a devout Christian who spent her free time volunteering at a retirement home.
Her father hopes she's remembered for the hero she was.
“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,’’ Dr. Philip Breen told the New York 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.”
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia in a statement to the Times said, “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.”