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NYC hospital doctor who worked 'challenging front lines of the emergency department' dies by suicide

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Posted at 10:15 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 22:15:12-04

A New York City hospital doctor took her own life Sunday, police said.

Dr. Lorna Breen succumbed to self-inflicted injuries at UVA Hospital, according to the Charlottesville Police Department. Police Chief RaShall Brackney mourned her loss.

”Front line health care professionals and first responders are not immune to the mental or physical effects of the current pandemic," Chief Brackney said. "On a daily basis, these professionals operate under the most stressful of circumstances, and the coronavirus has introduced additional stressors."

Breen worked in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.

"Words cannot convey the sense of loss we feel today," Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian 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."

Her father, Dr. Philip C. Breen, told the New York Times she had described working with patients with coronavirus.

“She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” he told the Times. “Make sure she’s praised as a hero, because she was. She’s a casualty just as much as anyone else who has died.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It’s a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within the tri-state area and the nation.

Depression and suicidal thoughts are often exhibited in many ways. Warning signs for suicide can include, but are not limited to, talking about wanting to die; conveying feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or being a burden; and displaying extreme moods.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advises that you do not leave the person alone, call a prevention hotline, and take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

For more information on suicide prevention, including additional resources and warning signs, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website .

This article was written by Aliza Chasan for WPIX.