A senior doctor who went back to work after recovering from coronavirus took her own life, after she was sent home a second time by her hospital while treating Covid-19 patients. Dr Lorna M Breen, a medical director at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, died at her family home in Charlottesville on Sunday, her father told the New York Times.
Her father Phillip C Breen, who is also a doctor, said: “She tried to do her job, and it killed her.”
She did not have any history of mental illness, Phillip said, adding that she seemed detached when they spoke the last time.
Dr Breen, he said, described to him how patients were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances.
“Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died,” he said.
His 49-year-old daughter, Phillip said, had contracted the virus but had returned to work after a week and a half. However, the hospital sent her home again. Phillip said they brought her back to Charlottesville.
A statement from the hospital she worked described her as a “hero who brought the highest ideals of medicine to the challenging front lines of the emergency department.”
Dr Breen’s friends said she was a deeply religious Christian who volunteered at a home for older people once a week. An avid member of a New York ski club, she regularly travelled to ski and snowboard, they said. And she was very close with her sisters and mother, who lived in Virginia.
A colleague told the New York Times that Dr. Breen always made sure her doctors had protective equipment. Even when she was home recovering from Covid-19, she texted her co-workers to check in and see how they were doing, the colleague said.