ONTD Political

TW SUICIDE: Nurse who died after royal baby prank call committed suicide

4:36 pm - 12/12/2012
The nurse found dead after a hoax call to the hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was found hanged, the Guardian understands.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a mother of two from Bristol, was discovered unconscious at her nurses' flat near the private King Edward VII hospital in central London on Friday morning.

A postmortem has been carried out, with the results expected to be officially announced at the opening of the inquest into her death on Thursday morning at Westminster coroners court.

The Guardian confirmed a report on Sky News that she had been found hanged. Scotland Yard would not comment on the reports.

Saldanha was the nurse who answered a hoax call to the hospital from two Australian radio DJs in the early hours of Tuesday last week, just hours after the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted for acute morning sickness.

The nurse, who had worked at the hospital for more than four years, was discovered at around 9.30am on Friday morning. Reports that she left a suicide note have not been confirmed.

The death is not being treated as suspicious, and the inquest is expected to be opened and adjourned on Thursday as inquiries continue.

The family of the nurse are set to receive more than £350,000 from Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of the Sydney station 2Day FM, whose presenters rang the hospital inquiring about the duchess's medical condition and posing as the Queen and Prince of Wales.

Saldanha is understood to be the nurse who answered the call, then, believing she was talking to members of the royal family, transferred it to a duty nurse on the duchess's ward.

The DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have spoken of their devastation over the "unforeseen consequences" of the call. Both are off air at the moment. The station has cancelled its Christmas party, and pledged to donate profits from advertising until the end of the year to a fund to help Saldanha's family.

The hospital has set up a memorial fund to help support her husband and two teenage children.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said on Wednesday the postmortem result "would be announced tomorrow at the inquest".

kaelstra 13th-Dec-2012 01:08 am (UTC)
This. I don't think this post is necessary.
suwiel 13th-Dec-2012 01:25 am (UTC)
Gross. I don't think we really need these details. I'm sure her family is happy.
lizcharlene 13th-Dec-2012 01:30 am (UTC)
This is exactly what I wanted to know, on the contrary. CNN left out nearly the entire story of how this came to be and the cause of death. I was very dissatisfied with mainstream media for being vague and putting it on the front page simultaneously.
sakuraberries 13th-Dec-2012 01:40 am (UTC)
Pretty much this. It was never explicitly stated that her death was a suicide, and I wanted to be sure.
moonshaz 13th-Dec-2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
Me, too.
kaelstra 13th-Dec-2012 01:53 am (UTC)
I'm honestly not sure how knowing the gory details of her suicide makes anything better, or is really anyone's business, especially if the family has requested privacy. It just feels disrespectful.
vulturoso 13th-Dec-2012 02:06 am (UTC)
Agreed. We're a morbid society sometimes.
chaya 13th-Dec-2012 02:14 am (UTC)
Tbqh I'm still confused with this story and how a hoax call that she forwarded led to her taking her own life. I feel I must be missing a huge component of this. Did her job overreact and crack down on her for the mistake?
merinnan 13th-Dec-2012 02:20 am (UTC)
From what little I've heard, the hospital had put her on leave while they were investigating, but were generally being supportive. However, the UK media seem to have been making a huge fuss about it, and if some of the stuff I've seen directed at the DJs is any indication, she was probably getting a lot of hate directed her way by random people (in the interests of disclosure - I think the DJs majorly fucked up and their actions were disgusting, but they don't deserve some of the shit I've seen said about them. And if this poor woman was getting the same kind of hate...yeah ~_~).
chaya 13th-Dec-2012 02:24 am (UTC)
So was it just random people pissed that she made a mistake, or royal stans, or...? I'm still sort of mystified.
merinnan 13th-Dec-2012 02:29 am (UTC)
If it's anything like the hate being directed at the DJs, just random people pissed that she made a mistake, and them being incredibly awful about it.
quixotic_coffee 13th-Dec-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
The media blowing it out of proportion and putting it on the front page everywhere and talking about it nonstop probably had a lot to do with it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be all over the front page (or in the news at all) just for doing my job and transferring a damn phone call.
ljtaylor 13th-Dec-2012 08:35 am (UTC)
Yup, I saw comments flying about that this poor lady was clearly incompetent, that she should go back to India, etc. And the way some of the tabloid press went on about the DJs, you would think they were hoping to push for a manslaughter conviction. It went waaay overboard.
jazzypom the hospital 'said' they were supportive13th-Dec-2012 11:17 am (UTC)
I do have my suspicions as how it would have gone down. I'm cynical, because I've been at the hands of 'support' as how the British do it.

Firstly, she would have been taken off post, and had a meeting with her line manager, hospital head and someone taking notes, because they'd have set up a paper trail in order to protect themselves (in case they had to dismiss her especially if the Royal family came down on them hard, because the hospital was known to look after members of The Royal family, and I'm sure that the heads wouldn't have wanted to lose their patronage). If nothing else, her action would have had a disciplinary, mention on her file. In addition, because people don't really want to 'catch' what you have (seriously, when it comes to being on the wrong side of cooperate interest, rightly or wrongly, you're a pariah) I'd be surprised if people might have distanced themselves from her.

On top of that, the call was played on BBC, and linked to in The Daily Mail as well as other newspapers online (which to be fair, seems legit- a lot of people would have wanted to know the context of the nurse being duped). So you'd have had the nurse's voice online, being repeated for everyone to hear. Over and over again.

The woman was known for having a very 'nervous' personality, and being high strung sensitive, according to people who knew her, so she would have taken the news hard. In addition, if she wanted to leave that job and go and apply for another one, this mistake would have followed her around (seriously, it would have done).

Another thing, is that the woman's family lived in Bristol (about ninety minutes away from London, iirc) and she stayed in nurses' lodgings in the week, which might have been another emotional burden. So I can just imagine what with her thinking about her job, her just being in her nurses quarters (and being unable to leave because she was under investigation) for doing her job (filling in at around 05:30 am because the receptionist wouldn't have been in for at least another three hours), and yeah, I can understand why she would have done what she did.

Didn't know about how she took her life though; but I was curious, considering they said that it wasn't suspicious.

Edited at 2012-12-13 11:22 am (UTC)
frelling_tralk Re: the hospital 'said' they were supportive13th-Dec-2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
Yes I have my doubts because of course the hospital will cover themselves now and say they offered her support, but it was a pretty major breach of security and I find it hard to believe she was only offered "support" over it. I always thought the prank was a pretty crappy one because of course no one could have foreseen her suicide, but when the DJ's were bragging about the best prank ever and encouraging people to listen to the phone call, they should still have been aware that they were putting peoples jobs at risk, so it was always a prank with the potential to cause great harm IMO
jazzypom Re: the hospital 'said' they were supportive13th-Dec-2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
. I always thought the prank was a pretty crappy one because of course no one could have foreseen her suicide, but when the DJ's were bragging about the best prank ever and encouraging people to listen to the phone call, they should still have been aware that they were putting peoples jobs at risk, so it was always a prank with the potential to cause great harm IMO

Yeah, this. It's one thing doing a Bart Simpson and calling a bar looking for Iwanna wank, but you're calling a hospital where sick people are? Just... what?

My thoughts go out to the nurse and her family.
tilmon Re: the hospital 'said' they were supportive13th-Dec-2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
No receptionist on duty was the initial problem, and is the hospital's fault. Businesses always cut personnel costs by not having "non-essential" personnel on at night. But a receptionist isn't non-essential! It's actually a skilled post that frees up other workers to do their jobs. Other workers may be more skilled in certain ways, but not in that! At night, you actually want your best receptionist on duty because that person will be put in a position of making judgment calls that during the day would be referred to someone else on the business/customer relations side of operations. But every hospital I know about expects the nurses to act as receptionists during the night. I think that it is unthinking sexist assumptions about "women's work", and both nursing and reception are traditional "pink collar" jobs, even if their are some men doing them now. Probably without even realizing it, hospitals are perpetuating old ideas that women's work isn't really important, that it isn't difficult, and that all women have the same skill sets and are therefore interchangeable. Why would a nurse have the skill set necessary to sort out legitimate callers from the illegimate callers? Hospitals all need to ask themselves that question and start staffing their facilities like the 24-hour operations they are.
moonshaz Re: the hospital 'said' they were supportive13th-Dec-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
THIS, all of it.
vulturoso 13th-Dec-2012 01:47 am (UTC)
I feel like I don't need to know this. :(
lozbabie 13th-Dec-2012 02:22 am (UTC)

Trigger warning

One of the girls I coached choose his method and her mother was the one who found her. I would give everything I have not to know his information (I threw up when told, as I'm told did a number of others) The mental picture I have of her dying and her poor, poor mother finding her are forever ether in my brain and this is not info that should be publically released.
a_phoenixdragon 13th-Dec-2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh gods...this whole thing is just terrible and shocking. I just...
piratesswoop 13th-Dec-2012 02:11 am (UTC)
I never know the proper word usage for hanged. The verb tenses are so bizarre to me.
ahria 13th-Dec-2012 04:26 am (UTC)
I learned in HS that "Pictures are hung, people are hanged". Idk, I think it's confusing too.
ohmiya_sg 13th-Dec-2012 08:39 am (UTC)
Some people are also hung, but...not in the same way. ;D
eyetosky 13th-Dec-2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
...Really? In this post, really?
moonshaz 13th-Dec-2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
thishollywood 13th-Dec-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
ha that made me laugh
coraki 14th-Dec-2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Gross and Distasteful.

Edited at 2012-12-14 04:19 am (UTC)
homasse 13th-Dec-2012 10:10 am (UTC)
I've always just thought of "hang" as two different verbs instead of as the same verb with different uses, and they have different past tenses/past participles. It makes it a lot easier.
lafinjack 13th-Dec-2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
The way to remember is as long as it sounds wrong, you're right.
carminaburana 13th-Dec-2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Doesn't mentioning the method of suicide in the post title pretty much negate the trigger warning?
operatic_diva 13th-Dec-2012 08:09 am (UTC)
Fuck 2Day FM, I'm glad that the DJs are off air and that advertisers are leaving in droves... Although it was a shit station to begin with.
poetic_dreamer 13th-Dec-2012 08:30 am (UTC)
Kate is one of the biggest known celebrities in the world and she was that accessible? Seems to me like they have to investigate security at the hospital and also look into the actual cause for this woman's death as she did not answer the call itself she only redirected it. There's a lot more going on here.

Edited at 2012-12-13 08:31 am (UTC)
moonshaz 13th-Dec-2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
vivekgk 13th-Dec-2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
It's been almost 5 years, but didn't the same thing happen to Sarah Palin, with a couple of Canadian DJs calling her pretending to be Sarkozy? We all thought that was pretty funny at the time.

IMO, pulling this kind of shit at a hospital just isn't funny. It's appalling how assholes from the media think they can do whatever the fuck they want, screw with anyones' lives to get the news they want.

The DJs knew full well that the hospital staff would get the blame for letting the lapse happen. They can't say they didn't know about the shit-storm it would cause, when they released sensitive information about the Royal Family, because that's what happens every time. They should be held responsible, and shouldn't be able to buy their way out of this.
keeni84 14th-Dec-2012 12:23 am (UTC)
It's been almost 5 years, but didn't the same thing happen to Sarah Palin, with a couple of Canadian DJs calling her pretending to be Sarkozy? We all thought that was pretty funny at the time.

Not sure if you implied this or not, but I just want to point out that calling a political figure and pretending to be another political figure is different than calling a hospital and pretending to a current patient's family member. Whether or not Kate Middleton is a "public" or "private" figure, tricking hospital workers (who are private figures) is boneheaded.
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