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.
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?
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