New York doctor on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight dies in Charlottesville

Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 1:55 PM EDT
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A New York City emergency room doctor working on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus died of self-inflicted injuries Sunday in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Police Department officers responded to a call for medical assistance, but the victim, Dr. Lorna Breen, a resident of New York City, was taken to UVA Medical Center for treatment, where she later died because of self-inflicted injuries.

"Frontline healthcare professionals and first responders are not immune to the mental or physical effects of the current pandemic," Chief RaShall Brackney said in a statement. "On a daily basis, these professionals operate under the most stressful of circumstances, and the coronavirus has introduced additional stressors."

Dr. Breen, a 49-year-old who worked at New York Presbyterian’s Allen hospital, according to CBS in New York, was visiting family in Virginia.

Her family said she took her own life after describing the horrors she saw from COVID-19.

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” her father told CBS, saying Dr. Breen had told him some of her COVID-19 patients died even before getting out of ambulances.

"Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can reduce the likelihood of being infected, but what they cannot protect heroes like Dr. Lorna Breen, or our first responders against is the emotional and mental devastation caused by this disease," Chief Brackney said.