Coronavirus has taken a tough toll on everyone's lives - more so on the lives of those who are on the front lines of fighting the deadly disease. In the United States, the situation is terrifying with more than 300,000 cases and over 22,000 deaths. These numbers are rising by the day and the ones who are fighting day and night to try and contain the pandemic are healthcare officials.

Amidst all the chaos and panic that is in the US, a hero passed away in silence. Dr. Lorna Breen was a New York emergency room (ER) doctor who was treating COVID-19 patients. The 49-year-old died of suicide, leaving her loved ones in shock. The doctor had only recovered from COVID-19 and had decided to go back to treat coronavirus patients.

'She was a hero'

Dr Lorna Breen
Dr Lorna BreenTwitter/DrLornaBreen

Father of the doctor, Philip Breen, explained how Breen loved New York, her coworkers and how the battle against COVID-19 was proving to be a tough one - but they didn't give up. From putting in 18-hour shifts and sleeping in hallways, Breen described the challenges her colleagues faced fighting the COVID-19 battle, CNN reported.

"She went down in the trenches and was killed by the enemy on the front line," Philip Breen said. "She loved New York and wouldn't hear about living anywhere else. She loved her coworkers and did what she could for them."

Being on the frontline of treating coronavirus patients is a risky one and Breen knew it first hand. She had contracted coronavirus infection, but she recovered from it after taking a week and half off from work. Even getting infected by the very virus she had been trying to fight on a larger scale was no reason to stop for Breene as she decided to go back to work. Her father said Breene didn't last a 12-hour shift.

New York-Presbyterian Allen hospital, where Dr Breen worked
New York-Presbyterian Allen hospital, where Dr Breen workedWikimedia

Doctors are not immune to stress

Upon taking the advice of her doctor friend, Breene agreed to go to Virginia to her family. It was then she was admitted to the hospital for exhaustion, where she spent nearly a week. After getting discharged, she stayed with her mother and then went on to stay with her sister.

On Sunday, the Charlottesville Police Department responded to a call for medical assistance and identified Dr. Lorna Breen as the victim, who was rushed to the UVA Hospital for treatment. The doctor succumbed to self-inflicted injuries.

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

"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," Brackney added.

The world might look at the numbers and the rate at which the coronavirus cases are rising, but it is impossible to understand the sacrifices healthcare officials are making for the well-being of others. Their selflessness is beyond praise and their sacrifice far from repayable.