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.


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.
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.
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