A New York City emergency room doctor who recovered from Covid-19 and continued to treat coronavirus patients has died by suicide, her father confirmed to CNN.
Dr. Lorna Breen died Sunday morning in Charlottesville, Virginia, her father, Philip Breen, said. She was 49.
“She died a hero,” her father said. “She was in the trenches, she was a hero.”
Breen worked in the emergency department in the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian hospital system. She had been on the frontlines for weeks handling the onslaught of cases, her father said.
"She went down in the trenches and was killed by the enemy on the frontline," her father said. "She loved New York and wouldn't hear about living anywhere else. She loved her coworkers and did what she could for them."
Her father, a retired trauma surgeon, said they would speak frequently about work. Lorna told her father that people at work were putting in 18 hour days and sleeping in the hallways, and that the ambulances couldn't even get in because it was so busy.
She got Covid-19 and took a week and a half off to recover but when she went back to work, she couldn't even last a 12-hour shift, her father said. She felt like she had to return to work to help her colleagues, he added.
“Words cannot convey the sense of loss we feel today,” the hospital said in a statement. “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.”
How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
CNN's Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.