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Coronavirus: Medical director of emergency department dies by suicide after recovering from covid-19

A top emergency room doctor battling on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City died by suicide over the weekend, her family members have revealed.

Dr Lorna Breen, who was medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in Manhattan, died of self-inflicted injuries on Sunday, police said.

The 49-year-old’s father, Dr Philip Breen, told the New York Times: “She tried to do her job and it killed her.”

In the days leading up to her death, the 49-year-old reportedly recounted to family members a series of traumatic scenes she had witnessed working in the Manhattan hospital, including an onslaught of patients dying in front of her before they could even be removed from ambulances.  

Lorna Breen herself had recently contracted COVID-19 but had returned to work after a week-and-a-half of rest. But the hospital sent her home again, after which she re-located to Charlottesville to recuperate under the instructions of her father, Dr. Philip C. Breen.

Her father said she had no history of mental illness, but mentioned that when they last spoke, his daughter had seemed “detached” and told him how Covid-19 patients were dying before they could even be removed from ambulances. Dozens of patients have succumbed to coronavirus at the 200-bed hospital in Manhattan.

“She was truly in the trenches on the front line,” her father told the New York Times.

“Make sure she’s praised as a hero. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”

The grieving 71-year-old father (center) said Breen (left) had no history of mental illness, but during their final conversation together he noticed his daughter seemed detached and began to suspect something might be wrong

The police department said that after a call for help on 26 April, Dr Breen was taken to a local hospital for treatment “where she later succumbed to self-inflicted injuries”.

Police chief RaShall Brackney said in a statement: “Frontline healthcare professionals and first responders are not immune to the mental or physical effects of the current pandemic.

“On a daily basis,” she added, “these professionals operate under the most stressful of circumstances, and the coronavirus has introduced additional stressors.”

Source:The New York Times

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