The head of the emergency department at a Manhattan hospital committed suicide after spending days on the front lines of the coronavirus battle, her family said Monday.
“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” Dr. Philip Breen told the New York Times of his physician daughter, Lorna Breen, who had been medical director of the NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital amid the pandemic.
The father said his 49-year-old daughter, who died Sunday, had no history of mental illness. But he said that the last time they spoke, she told him how excruciating it was to have to continually watch contagion patients die, including some even before they could be taken from the ambulance.
“She was truly in the trenches on the front line,” Philip Breen told the Times.
“Make sure she’s praised as a hero,” he added. “She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”
Lorna Breen died in Charlottesville, Va., where she’d been staying with her family, the father said.
He said she had gotten sick with the virus while on the job at one point but returned to work after about a week and a half of recuperating. Still, the hospital sent her home again, and her family brought her to Virginia.