UK & World News
Kate Prank Call: Hospital Slams Radio Station
The hospital where the nurse who was duped into helping reveal details about the Duchess of Cambridge's health worked has condemned the prank phone call as "truly appalling".
In a letter to the Australian radio station 2day FM's parent company, Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, said he wanted to "protest" against the "extremely foolish" gag.
His comments follow the apparent suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who was found dead on Friday.
She had taken the hoax call from the radio station on Tuesday morning and put it through to a nurse on the Duchess of Cambridge's ward, who divulged private information about her treatment.
Lord Glenarthur said Ms Saldanha's death was "tragic beyond words".
It comes as footage emerged of her grieving family members in her home country of India.
The letter to Southern Cross Austereo said the immediate consequence of the station's "premeditated and ill-considered actions" led to the "humiliation" of Ms Saldanha and another nurse.
"I appreciate that you cannot undo the damage which has been done but I would urge you to take steps to ensure that such an incident could never be repeated," it added.
A spokesman for the private London hospital said the letter was sent on Saturday.
Ms Saldanha's devastated family were being comforted by relatives and friends at their terraced home in Southmead, Bristol.
A statement said: "We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha."
A friend at the address said Ms Saldanha's partner Benedict Barboza, 49, and their teenage son and daughter, aged 14 and 16, were "very, very shocked and unhappy at the tragedy".
The devoted nurse and mother-of-two was pronounced dead at staff accommodation close to the hospital where the pregnant duchess was treated for a severe form of morning sickness.
News of her death led to a huge backlash against the two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles during the prank on their 2day FM show.
They have now been taken off the air while the Sydney-based station has been inundated with complaints.
Southern Cross Austereo said that, by mutual consent, the hosts would not be returning to their show until further notice.
The company's Chief Executive Rhys Holleran has stood by the two DJs and said they were shocked and devastated by news of Ms Saldanha's death.
He said: "This is a tragic event that could not have been reasonably foreseen and we're deeply saddened by it. I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it's fair to say they're completely shattered."
Mr Holleran said the pair had been offered counselling, adding: "These people aren't machines, they're human beings. We're all affected by this."
In a video of her relatives in India, her sister-in-law Celin D'Souza said: "I will really miss her a lot. She was a good-natured sister-in-law. I cannot forget her, she was so good."
Another sister-in law Cerolin D'Souza, added: "It would have been great if the Indian government had taken the initiative to help and do the necessary thing of getting back the body of our daughter. It is so sad. I am unsure as to what is in store."
what do you think?
Oh goody, another story for the conspiracy theory trolls to tell us all about MI5 and the blood covered royal family. I can handle republicans, that is their right to feel that way and to express their opinions. It's the outright loonys that I am putting on ignore. At least I won't have to read their sad rubbish anymore.
Of course, what u meant to say, was poor woman may she rest in peace. What a terrible situation. Not that political bull you just ranted (that no body is interested in). Try developing some emotions and join the human race!
He said all that yesterday.
Whats political about it ? I have allready expressed my sadness and condolences in the other , numerous threads regarding this story, which is my point. You where interested enough to comment, not that I care what you think. Also 16 thumbs in total suggests that a few people where intersted. My advice to you Paul, try some gaviscon.
Now were learning more about her background which we didnt know before.theres more to the womans life then anybody knows.the prank was the straw that broke the camels back.also the hospital manager wont ever take any blame as the royals might not wish to go there again.this is bad publicity for them.
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This only goes to show that pranksters don't always think through the consequences of their actions. Here they did not see that for their prank to work they had to hoodwink the nurse. They did not take into account how the nurse would react. In fact they did not think of her at all. It seems this nurse may have felt that she had been induced to behave unprofessionally in breaching patient confidentiality. The sense of shame may have led to her taking her own life. I hope the ozzies can live with themselves after this. Do they or those that enjoyed the prank still think it was a hoot?
Lisa Marie Williams
She didnt breach patient confidentiality she just put the phone call thru to a nurse on the ward she was the one that spoke about her condition
Yes thats true lisa.but that nurse hasnt commited suicide has she.im in agreement with malcolm.also dont try to tell me there werent body guards around proberly even armed, a press spokesman, a direct line to buckinham palace.dont try and tell me she eat hospital food that wasnt checked.this was a major breach in security.period.
I don't think enjoying the prank or not comes into it.....this woman was obviously mentally imbalanced and was always one step away from her inevitable demise, there was always going to be someone to blame, that's the way suicide works, whether it be the bailiff coming to take away goods, the ex who won't take you back...etc....etc..she took her life not them.
Firstly in any situation where high profile patients like the Royals are involved, calls should go through the hospital administration to firstly verify who is asking questions. Nursing staff however junior or senior should not answer any questions regarding the patients. Secondly the radio station presenters should be arrested by indirectly causing the death of...............whoever. The hospital management should answer questions to the authorities first.
Yes thats what is not being said.what ticking off did this poor nurse get for letting the hospital down.theres no doubt these pranksters contributed to her suicide but the blame must also be taken by the hospital management.
Keeps saying she didn't get a ticking off...
Lorgar, as there is now no one to dispute their statement how are we to know.But we do know that they are deflecting their culpability in this matter towards people who should not have got further than security and never expected too.
Lorgar, who knows what they said to her. But i find it really difficult to imagine this scenario playing out without a pretty harsh dressing down from her employer.
She had been separated from her family in order to earn a living. That, I know personally, is stressful enough, and is not the same as mental health problems, as some people on this site have been unkind enough to suggest.
Stewgyn there's nothing unkind about suggesting mental health issues. Most of us bump up against poor mental health at some time in our lives. Stress is a major component of and contributor to mental ill health. if we shy away from these term we continue the stigma that sometimes causes more unhappiness than the very treatable mental ill health itself
I think this highlights the dangers of performing "pranks" on people not known to the "prankster". You don't know the person or what problems they are having in their life so it is totally irresponsible.
So in your eyes anyone that plays a joke on someone is a heartless thoughtless fool...can't we just have some fun in this life without the doom mongers ruining it all, out was tragic yes,a little silly yes, but this death was nobodies fault but the woman who took her own life. I suppose you never have laughed at candid camera or beadles about dom joly....to name but a few. Its not irresponsible its humour, sometimes things turn out inexplicably wrong, but don't be so judgemental.
The point is that even if no deaths were involved, it was a rubbish prank in the first place. Remember Mr Calvert that a young woman pregnant with her first child was in hospital because she was ill. I fail to see why that's a cause for amusement.
Lorgar, I'm not disputing it was a stupid joke...some jokes are, its the nature of humour, it doesn't appeal to all, however, you seem to be distracting the points somewhat, Kate wasn't the butt of the joke it was the establishment and their inability to spot it. That was supposed to purvey the point of humour.
simon, glad someone can recognise that kate was not the joke.
Simon, i'm all for wind ups if done responsibly. Most are in fact done that way. This wasn't. It's a hospital at the end of the day. Not the place for wind ups.
Simon I work in a hospital and I can tell you that we have enough to do without idiots playing inane pranks. As you can see it has gone terribly wrong, and for what?
Valerie, the prank call was not in the best taste all things considered, but it wasn't meant with malice, and I do understand the nature of hospitals even though I don't work in one such as yourself,I don't think working in one gives your opinion any more credence. And what was it for....amusement...some people would have found it so....not myself but I don't consider it malicious or callous just a little stupid.
Simon I stand by all that I have said. There is a time and place for "pranks" and this was not one of them. I also stand by what I said about playing "pranks" on people you don't know. If you play pranks on friends or relatives then you know them and their situation so okay but to ring up random people and places is NOT on. As we can see from the very sad outcome of this "prank" that went so horribly wrong. I am sure that if you or any of your family were in hospital you wouldn't want to think that some numpty was taking staff away from their duties. We are understaffed as it is.
Valerie....firstly this whole thing has been set out of proportion, it was a silly phone call without any offence caused that took up a couple of minutes and highlighted a lack of security and protocol. Stop bleating about the NHS as this was a private hospital and we all know how overrun the NHS is,as i have already stated numerous times I don't believe this was a great demonstration of humour. I also don't believe the prank went horribly wrong by all accounts it met its purpose andsurpassed it... Tragically someone took their own life,I don't think anyone can say they foresaw that and if you were asked to write a risk assessment on the outcome of the call I don't think you would see suicide as a possible risk. Prank calls are part of telephone history since the day it was invented, you are allowed a little humour in your life,I remember when I was a kid you would ring up an indiscriminate number and ask if Mr wall was there or Mrs wall then say well what's holding up your house... Ok hardly amusing now but as a kid hilarious.
yes but Simon, these were not kids who pulled the "prank". The nurse would have seen through the "prank" if it had been kids.
The conclusion ive come to is that this hospital was inaduquate in dealing with a member of the royal family staying there.if at the end of the day a simple everyday nurse has taken the consequences.and has paid the ultimate price.
Indeed Shaun, lax planning by the hospital, they should have put their brains on and thought about security. Also what were the royal security people doing in not planning for intrusion by the press. Same thing happened with Harry - security people playing at their jobs. Wills should kick some rses
Surely Gengis answering the phone is part of hospital admins remit and not security? I can't see a Close Protection officer working on a switchboard.
Well there should have at least been a code word. Its surely not to hard a thing to implement.
Lorgar, I've posted this before,were talking normal hospital security not PPU. Why should a nurse man a switchboard its not a clinical role. Hospital cost cutting at fault.
You would think something was in place to stop such things happening.surely the cambridges would have their own phone line or something.otherwise whats to stop anyone playing the same prank again.
It's a private hospital. Can't see them cutting costs.
Lorgar, PML at that one mate.
There was something far more seriously wrong in this lady's life than just being the victim of a hoax. It may have been the thing that pushed her over the edge but we should not forget depression is a serious illness often not discovered until it's too late. Thank God I had the courage to see my doctor in 2007. I hope that people realise there is help available. Rip
I think the prank was witless and silly, however, this woman must have been emotionally on the brink and had it not been this the inevitable would have happened anyway, they say suicide is the cowards way out, this just provided a convenient out clause to lessen the guilt and pass some emotional baggage elsewhere. Indeed it is tragic, however there should be little guilt felt by the callers due to their silly actions, that's all it was silly, they were not to know who they were dealing with was on the brink, nor should they have taken that into account unless they had rung up a person purposefully on a suicide watch in a mental home, the chances of such a thing happening in a random call are very slim to nothing. To finger point at these two is just ridiculous, the woman took her own life, not them.
I agree with the posts questioning the response of the hospital management. No doubt they were critical of the nurses involved but why were nurses put in that position? Surely with a royal in hospital some sort of security should have been applied to the switchboard. It is dreadfully sad that Ms Saldanha took it so badly but I cannot blame the two aussies for this. It was just a rather silly prank that went wrong. Haven't we all done the silly voice thing at some time or another?
Close Protection officers have other things to do than man the switchboard. This hospital always treats the Royals, i would think they would have had long standing proceedures in place for when one is there.
Lorgar, you are right that there should have been measures in place to prevent this. Just don't blame the nurses - they're not telephonists/receptionists either.
Agree with both of you. One would imagine that an eye would be kept on the switchboard considering that they had a royal personage in situ. Maybe on this occasion the procedures failed?
A hospital trust up this neck of the woods harassed a nurse because he was a union rep and did too good a job for his members, it then sacked him on a trumped up bullying charge which was thrown out as downright lies by a judge, who ordered his reinstatement, which the trust ignored, they have spent millions of taxpayers money defending their persecution of this man who has been diagnosed as suffering with clinical depression brought on by his treatment at the hands of the trust.
And this is relevant...?
Yes, how have the management treated this nurse?
John i agree. I find it difficult to accept the hospital's statement that they were being supportive. I bet they were utterly and ruthlessly furious. I worked all my life and even in the most benvolent of employments an investigation would be launched. She may have been incredibly sensitive with other issues bearing down on her
I don't mind when people make nuisance telephone calls to telesales people who keep phoning selling things but as a joke, I didn't find this one very funny in the first place. I've seen some children online making nuisance phone calls to pizza companies in America or other businesses and even famous people but that doesn't seem very funny either. Even adults seem to. Even professional comedians on the television or radio spend a lifetime becoming the top of their job then it all seems to end when they say just one sentence which then inadvertently insults everyone on Earth. I never understood how phoning people who are caring for someone who is ill, is any kind of radio joke.
Exactly. She was ill in hospital so it's time to wind up the people caring for her.
I agree that targeting a hospital was not choosing the wisest of targets, regardless of who the patient was. But these phone pranks are very very popular. Im wllin to bet that some of the people on here, calling for thm to be tormentd all their lives for this, have chuckled at something similar in the past.
I still think this nurse had one hell of a grilling from the hospital managers.i d like to know how the other nurse involved was treated.
shaun, she could well be on extended leave clutching a D notice.
Blimey, they still have D notices these days?
This is such an awful situation, the poor nurses, the dj's who must be feeling like... God, I don't even have a word for it... and a young couple whose joy and elation at their first journey into parenthood has been rocked by the tragic death of this lady. I think there is room enough for pity for all of those involved.
Very true.bad for everybody all round.
Piy for all of them, the nurse, her family, Kate and Wills, and finally pity for the two Antipodean imbeciles because they haven't got a brain cell between them .
Emma i agree so much. Most of my sympathy goes, of course, to Mrs Salsanha and her poor family. But there is room for understanding of how all the other people involved must be feeling, including the royals and the djs.
Instead of standing by his two DJs and offering them counseling, Mr. Holleran should be sacking them and apologising for their appaling behavior. He has said that they did nothing ilegal, this is not about legality, but good mannars, good taste, and respect for others privacy. It seems that this incident has done nothing to contradict the Australian steriotype of boorish discourtesy to others.
I feel that this is such a tragedy for everyone involved, for mrs Saldanha, for her bereaved partner and grieving children. But the djs dd not set out for this to happen and they are being judged too harshly in this matter . Lets hope that all of you who are being so judgemental are never unwitting contributors to a terrible but unforseen and unimaginable tragedy