Emergency director at New York hospital dies by suicide, police say

NEW YORK CITY -- The medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital who worked with COVID-19 patients died by suicide this week.

Police in Virginia say Dr. Lorna Breen died Sunday.

Her father told the New York Times that the 49-year-old had contracted the virus but recovered.

He said the last time they spoke she described the "onslaught of patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances."

A friend and former colleague of Breen's spoke with ABC News.

"I originally felt sad and now I just feel devastated," said Dr. Debbie Yi Madhok. "With all these people who are asking for lockdown to end, what about us?"

Her father told the New York Times to "make sure she's praised as a hero, because she was."

Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian released the following statement:

"Words cannot convey the sense of loss we feel today. 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."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is free and confidential.

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