ONTD Political

(TW: Suicide): Nurse Who Took Prank Call About Pregnant Princess Is Found Dead

5:17 pm - 12/07/2012
A nurse at a London hospital, who took a prank call from two Australian radio disc jockeys pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to get details on Kate Middleton’s medical condition, was found dead on Friday, the hospital said.

John Lofthouse, the chief executive of the King Edward VII hospital — where Ms. Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was treated this week for hyperemesis gravidarum, acute morning sickness related to her pregnancy — told reporters:

It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.

We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service, said in a statement that Ms. Saldanha, 46, was found unconscious on Friday morning “at work-provided accommodation” near the hospital and pronounced dead at the scene by the London Ambulance Service.

Although the police said the nurse’s death “is being treated as unexplained,” the D.J.’s were widely held responsible on social networks.Lord Glenarthur, the hospital’s chairman, added: “This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.”

Ms. Middleton was released from the hospital on Thursday morning and went home with her husband, Prince William, for further rest. A statement from St. James’s Palace on behalf of the royal family said:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

Audio of the prank phone call to the hospital, in which the D.J.’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian were provided with information on Ms. Middleton’s condition, was removed from the Web site of their radio station, 2DayFM, and the broadcaster’s YouTube channel after the nurse’s death. Excerpts from the phone conversation between the pranksters and hospital staff members were included in a news report from Britain’s ITN.

Before the call to the nursing staff was put through, the D.J.’s laughed on the air about Ms. Greig’s poor impersonation of the queen and expressed surprise about how easy it had been for them to be taken seriously. During the call, Ms. Greig, in the role of the queen, asked when a good time might be to visit, and made comedic references to her pet corgis.

News agencies reported that Ms. Saldanha had transferred the call to another nurse on the ward. “She’s sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night, she’s been given some fluids … she’s stable at the moment,” the nurse on the call told the pranksters. “I would suggest that any time after 9 o’clock will be suitable.” She added: “We’ll be getting her freshened up.”

The two D.J.’s were reported to have later apologized, but seemed to welcome the international attention at first. Mr. Christian, whose @MContheradio Twitter account was later disabled, initially boasted that Conan O’Brien had noticed the prank.

In a statement, Southern Cross Austereo, the Australian media company, and 2Day FM, its radio station, said they were “deeply saddened” by news of the death and extended sympathies to the family and others affected. It said the company and the “deeply shocked” hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice.

Source

It's still not clear if this was the result of suicide, but because of her sudden death, that's what most people are speculating was the cause.
zinnia_rose 7th-Dec-2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
How awful. :( Her poor family.
tadashee 7th-Dec-2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
This was posted on the other ontd. It is really saddening. She was a mom and a wife. Also I don't blame her for transferring the call- apparently it was well known that some other royals were there earlier ( I am guessing William). She was probably confused. What I am furious about is that he call was prerecorded. Obviously no one could have known she would commit suicide, but they did know that sensitive info was released during their prank call. They said they didn't think their call would work, but it did. They could have told the nurses that it was a joke, apologize ad hung up. Lets say that they didn't reveal it was a prank- they still did not have to air it. You have to be an idiot to think releasing Kate's medical condition on air was a bright idea. They could have told the hospital and the hospital could have spoke with the nurses privately. No one would have known this incident occurred and therefore no one would have harassed this woman.
mysterysong 8th-Dec-2012 08:26 am (UTC)
Exactly. At best this stunt was going to result in two women being seriously disciplined by their employer and the radio station was still okay with that. This was not a harmless prank, embarrassment and humiliation was going to be caused to someone involved in some way.

As you said, they could have not aired the segment, but still spoken about it if they were so keen on bragging as they did. The whole structure and management of the station has resulted in some awful stunts, and sadly I'm not surprised they chose to act this way regarding this hoax.
layweed 7th-Dec-2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
I read about this this morning, but I'm still not sure if this was suicide. I don't see anything in the story that points at suicide. Has it been verified that it was suicide and not something else?
shishmish 7th-Dec-2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
The police are not treating it as suspicious, so it leans towards suicide then anything else. If it was just pure coincidence (i.e. natural causes) its incredibly freaky.

Edited at 2012-12-07 11:36 pm (UTC)
layweed 8th-Dec-2012 12:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I mean, when I first read it I definitely wanted to know if it was suicide and/or related to the prank call because of the timing. Idk, I just want to know more before making a decision about it. 'Cos if it was suicide related to the stupid prank call then those assholes who did it and whoever else at that radio station who thought it was a good idea need to be punished.
shishmish 8th-Dec-2012 12:18 am (UTC)
I couldn't believe it when I saw someone had retweeted a Sky News tweet reporting it. Then the BBC and other news outlets started reporting it and I was shocked something like this could happen. I hope that those involved get punished, there must be some way they can be charged if the outcome of her death was suicide driven by the hoax.
thelilyqueen 8th-Dec-2012 01:48 am (UTC)
It's tragic, whatever happened.

I'm not sure if I see it as as 'freaky' a possibility as you do that she died naturally. I could fairly easily see the stress of the situation aggravating an underlying medical condition (brain aneurysm, even diabetes or asthma) to the point of a crisis that turned out to be lethal. :(
shishmish 8th-Dec-2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
You make a very good point there, I didn't consider that at all. Whatever happened, it's sad a life has been lost due to a stupid prank.
glass_houses 8th-Dec-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
I smelled foul play immediately after I heard about this.
lady_borg 7th-Dec-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
This is just so gross, this radio station also has Kyle Sandilands (TW in link misogyny, assault, rape) http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity/youre-a-fat-slag-i-will-hunt-you-down-kyle-sandilands-radio-rant-at-female-journalist-over-review-of-his-show/story-e6frfmqi-1226204281827
This fucking radio station has no shame, I will not be surprised if these asshats do not get fired.


My wishes are with her family.

Edited at 2012-12-07 11:24 pm (UTC)
evewithanapple tw: rape7th-Dec-2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
Wait, THAT GUY? The one who hooked a teenaged girl up to a lie detector and questioned her about being raped on-air? THAT Kyle Sandilands?
shishmish Re: tw: rape8th-Dec-2012 12:19 am (UTC)
I just...what the fuck are these people playing at. What goes on in their minds? Probably not much if they think this is okay.
the_physicist Re: tw: rape8th-Dec-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
the fuck?!
layweed Re: tw: rape8th-Dec-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Don't even get me started on polygraph tests. Don't.

eta: fucking stupid pseudoscience piece of shit test augh

Edited at 2012-12-08 12:42 am (UTC)
lady_borg Re: tw: rape8th-Dec-2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Yep, its the same radio station. Australian Radio is the a fucking joke.
caterfree10 7th-Dec-2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
As soon as I heard this story this morning, I could hear the conspiracy theorists' gears a-turnin', heh. /terrible person

No matter how it happened though, I hope her family gets through this okay. :C
grace_om 8th-Dec-2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Given the way they're constantly harassed by the tabloid press, I'm surprised the royals didn't have someone assigned to the hospital to take all calls for/regarding Kate -- someone who would know immediately if a call was legit or some lying snoop. The hospital staff shouldn't have to deal with that.

Poor woman and her family. I hope it's not the case that she took her own life over this -- still very sad whatever happened.
mythianworld 9th-Dec-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
I agree with you 100% that the hospital or royal family should have had someone assigned for such possible phone call issues. Now, I bet they'll do just that from now on.
awakejupiter 8th-Dec-2012 01:03 am (UTC)
My thoughts go out to the woman's family and friends. This is absolutely heartbreaking.
deleriumd 8th-Dec-2012 01:06 am (UTC)
I love that the radio station is STILL under a probationary period for hooking a girl to a lie detector and then when she admitted to being assaulted, the DJ asked "Right, so was that your first experience?"

And also, calling a female journalist a "fat slag" on air.
ayajedi 8th-Dec-2012 01:37 am (UTC)
how awful
a_phoenixdragon 8th-Dec-2012 02:42 am (UTC)
This is terrible. Gods.
angelofdeath275 8th-Dec-2012 03:01 am (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more tragic it becomes ;(
koshkabegemot 8th-Dec-2012 03:04 am (UTC)
Holy fucking God. So sad. ):
callmetothejedi 8th-Dec-2012 03:07 am (UTC)
I think that this story is tragic. Given the timing of her death, my first thought was that she committed suicide. I mean, what are the other possibilities? If she didn't commit suicide, then I think the only other options that I can think of are that either she died of natural causes (which, I think as someone else posted, would be pretty damn freaky) or that she was murdered. :-/
angelofdeath275 8th-Dec-2012 03:45 am (UTC)
Right? I mean there's not a lot to go off of until later, but were kinda stuck with two other possibilities....
evilgmbethy 8th-Dec-2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
I swear on MSNBC they said she did commit suicide.
boundbyash 8th-Dec-2012 06:54 am (UTC)
While my first reaction to the news was shock, the more I think about it, the more I think there's more to this story. When I first heard about the prank call, through online news and my newspaper, none of the reporters were blaming the hospital staff. The blame all seemed to be directed towards the DJs who make the call in the first place. Now I'm wondering how much pressure this young woman has been under since the calls took place. To take her own life, she must have felt that her situation was hopeless. I also have to question how much support she was actually receiving from the hospital despite their declarations that they were indeed supporting her. So, what pushed her to suicide? (If that is indeed what happened) Was it the press? The infamous paparazzi? It just seems like there's a missing piece in this story. Laying blame wont bring this young woman back, but it might help prevent it from happening again. My heart does go out to the family and friends as they try to cope with this.
jenny_jenkins 8th-Dec-2012 07:00 am (UTC)
As someone who suffered crippling depression myself I can say that there were periods of my life where something that would have seemed minor to other people (like saying "hang on" and transferring a call. EDIT: and the resulting scrutiny and work and embarrassment) might have been enough to push me over the edge.

If it was suicide I'm bracing myself for the news she had been suffering from depression.

Edited at 2012-12-08 07:01 am (UTC)
romp 8th-Dec-2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
that's my expectation too--her reaction to the event was extreme because her thinking was already affected
agentsculder 8th-Dec-2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
If this woman's death does turn out to be suicide, the only reason I can think of why she may have done it was because she thought she was going to be fired. The hospital says they were "supporting her" but I can imagine that despite that she could have been so embarrassed and certain that there was no way they would let her keep her job, that she chose to end her life.

It's so so tragic.
ruby_chalice 8th-Dec-2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
I think the fact that she made a mistake ... and that mistake was broadcast globally ... for someone who's never been in the glare of the media, and has never asked to be, could potentially push someone over the edge.

simply_blah 8th-Dec-2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe she was receiving threats?
astra_aurora 8th-Dec-2012 11:55 am (UTC)
Fuck 2Day FM, seriously. That station is a fucking joke. This is just so tragic.
piratesswoop 8th-Dec-2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
This should've been a happy occasion for Will & Kate and their families, and now a woman is dead because a couple of assholes thought it would be funny to prank call a woman suffering from severe morning sickness, and now someone else has become a victim as a result of a "joke" in poor taste. I feel so bad for the woman's husband and children, they've lost a wife/mother.
ljtaylor 9th-Dec-2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
I am disgusted by the radio's prank ESPECIALLY their earlier prank with the 12 year old girl - who in the HELL would find that entertaining? But the media's obsession with this - and the resulting comments that appear on news sites, Facebook and Twitter - is going over the top and I would be more inclined to see that as a contribution to a possible suicide than the prank itself. Before this poor lady died, there were comments on the Daily Mail to the effect of "how could she have fallen for this? she should be sacked" and "she should go back to India".

This has been headline news for three days on some of the UK tabloids. The Press have even been knocking on the door of this poor woman's family. They just hound and hound and hound and...for what? This was really not that serious until the media got its teeth into it and started cross-examining everyone involved, taking comments from Facebook, etc. I don't see quite so much outrage over the prank from the Royal Family.

It reminds me of the whole Russell Brand / Jonathan Ross saga where the media were SO OUTRAGED and kept on at it for so long, even Andrew Sachs (whose granddaughter was at the centre of the prank) asked them to lay off.

There was also a case a while back where a young woman was murdered in Bristol, and the media suspected her landlord so started pulling his life apart in the papers with the insinuation "oh look he's eccentric, clearly a murderer." Then it transpired HE WAS INNOCENT. I just get so mad every time I see "trial-by-media", it fucking ruins lives.

Edited at 2012-12-09 01:23 pm (UTC)
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