Tags: Coronavirus | suicide | er doctor | dr. lorna breen

ER Doctor Who Died by Suicide Was in 'Untenable' Situation, Sister Says

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By    |   Thursday, 30 April 2020 09:08 AM

The sister of Dr. Lorna Breen, who committed suicide, after treating coronavirus patients and contracting the virus herself, said Breen was in an "untenable" situation before her death. 

In an interview with NBC’S "TODAY's" Savannah Guthrie on Thursday, Jennifer Feist said she believes her sister’s brain was “altered” after she contracted the coronavirus. 

And when she went back to work after a bout with the virus, she was surrounded by sick people, some she couldn’t save.

"She went back to the most horrific, unimaginable conditions," Feist said.

She said Breen struggled with not being able to do more in her job, "somebody whose life's calling is helping people, and she just couldn't help enough people."

"And the combination was just untenable," Feist said.

Breen, 49, had worked at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in northern Manhattan. 

After contracting coronavirus, she went back to work shortly after she recovered. 

Breen had been working 12-hour shifts before her death, Feist said. 

"She said it was like Armageddon," Feist said. "She said, 'There are so many sick people everywhere. People are dying in the waiting room.'" 

"When she finished, she said: 'I can't leave. Nobody's leaving. I have to stay and help,'" Feist said. "And I kept telling my sister: 'You know, you can't — if you can't function, you can't help anybody. You have to sleep. You have to rest. She would not give up.'"

The family intervened and brought her to Charlottesville, Virginia after she reached out for help. She spent 11 days in the hospital, her sister said. 

Authorities said Monday that she was taken to UVA University Hospital, where she succumbed to self-inflicted injuries.

Feist said she is speaking out to let medical providers know it is OK to ask for help.

"I know my sister felt like she couldn't sit down. She couldn't stop working. And she certainly couldn't tell anybody she was struggling. And that needs to be a conversation that changes," Feist said. "People need to be able to say they're suffering and to take a break."

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US
The sister of Dr. Lorna Breen, who committed suicide, after treating coronavirus patients and contracting the virus herself, said Breen was in an "untenable" situation before her death
suicide, er doctor, dr. lorna breen
340
2020-08-30
Thursday, 30 April 2020 09:08 AM
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