Ugh. This has to be the saddest thing I’ve heard in a very long time and it pains me to have to share it with all y’all. As you may know, Kate Middleton was recently hospitalized with acute morning sickness and had to spend a few days in the hospital recovering. While hospitalized, a pair of Australian “shock jock” DJs placed a prank call to King Edward VII Hospital pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles inquiring about Kate’s health. The DJs were transfered by nurse named Jacintha Saldanha to one of Kate’s attending nurses and she spoke with them on air, beliving they were members of the Royal Family. This nurse didn’t divulge any real information but the hoax was an embarrassment for the hospital. This morning, Saldanha was found dead in her home … and suicide is suspected.
A nurse at a London hospital who took a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge has been found dead. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a statement they were “deeply saddened” by the death of the nurse, named as Jacintha Saldanha. King Edward VII hospital paid tribute to “a first class nurse” who was the “victim of a hoax call.” Details of the pregnant duchess’s medical condition were unwittingly revealed to two Australian DJs. The DJs, from Sydney radio station 2Day FM – which says it is preparing a statement – posed as the Queen and Prince Charles. The duchess had been admitted on Monday for acute morning sickness, and was discharged on Thursday. BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said he understood Mrs Saldanha was the person who answered the call from the Australian DJs and was not the nurse who discussed the duchess’s medical condition. Mrs Saldanha, a duty nurse, answered the telephone because it was 05:30 GMT in the morning and there was no receptionist on duty.
The BBC understands Mrs Saldanha had not been suspended or disciplined by the hospital.
The St James’s Palace statement said the duke and duchess “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”. A palace spokesman later added that “at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident”. “On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.” In a statement outside the hospital, King Edward VII chief executive John Lofthouse said: “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.” He added: “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.” Scotland Yard said officers were called at 09:35 GMT on Friday after reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in central London. They said the death is not being treated as suspicious.
This is absolutely HORRIBLE news! That a stupid joke would lead to someone’s death is unbelievable. I think the knee jerk reaction is to blame the DJs for their dumb prank but is the blame really theirs? How many of us have made prank phone calls? Blah. It’s just all so sad. We cannot know what really caused Ms. Saldanha to take her own life but I’m sure that the embarrassment of this prank played a big part. UGH! It’s just so sad to have the happy news of Kate’s pregnancy connected to this senseless death :( What do y’all think of this? Who, if anyone, is to blame?
UPDATE: The Australian DJs who orchestrated this prank, have not been fired but have been taken “off the air”:
[Just in] Australian radio show hosts who pranked hospital are off the air “until further notice” – @MaxFosterCNN / Important to note the Australian radio show hosts haven’t been fired, but media spokesman says they’re off the air, per @MaxFosterCNN / Sydney station where royal prank call originated says hosting duo off the air indefinitely following nurse’s suicide – @GordonRayner