A top Emergency Room doctor in New York City who treated coronavirus patients has died from depression.
Doctor Lorna Breen, 49, died Sunday morning in Charlottesville, Viginia, from self-inflicted wounds, said her father, Doctor Philip Breen.
Breen worked in the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian hospital system in Manhattan where COVID-19 patients were admitted.
“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” he said. “She was a hero.”
“She loved New York … She loved her coworkers … I just want people to know how special she was,” he said.
Her father confirmed that her daughter, who died of self-inflicted wounds, had no previous mental illness.
Before her death, Lorna had told her father that her colleagues were putting in 18-hour days and sleeping in hallways, and that ambulances couldn’t get in because it was so busy.
Lorna worked in the Emergency Room and had been on the front lines for weeks, handling the onslaught of cases, her father said.
There, she contracted COVID-19 and took a week and a half off to recover.
However, when she returned to work, she was not strong enough to do a 12-hour shift, her father said.
Then, a doctor friend advised Lorna that she should go home to Virginia, where most of her family is based, Philip Breen said.
Lorna’s friends and relatives helped get her to Charlottesville where she was hospitalized and treated for exhaustion, her father said, adding that her mother is a doctor in the ward where she was treated. After about a week, Lorna went to stay with her mom, her father said. Then, last weekend, she went to stay with her sister.
While staying at her sister’s home, Lorna inflicted wounds upon herself and was taken to hospital. She later succumbed to the wounds in hospital.
As of Tuesday morning, New York City has been the US’ pandemic epicenter, recording nearly 300,000 cases and more than 22,000 deaths.
Doctors, nurses, health workers and first-responders are on the front-line of the global war against the pandemic which has taken the lives of many medics in cities around the world.