UK nurse Jacintha Saldanha who duped by Kate Middleton prank call, commits suicide
The King Edward VII Hospital in London has confirmed that the nurse who was the victim of a prank pulled by two Australian DJs about Kate Middleton’s heath status earlier this week has died.
She has been identified as Jacintha Saldanha, 46.
Media reports are suspecting suicide, but no one has linked the death to suicide.
Dr. Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nurses in London, said it is “deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.”
Saldanha, who was the one who took the call from the Australian radio personalities and transferred the call to the nurse’s ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness.
It was announced on Monday that Kate is expecting.
On Friday, police in London responded to a call at 9:35 a.m. to reports of a woman found unconscious at a residence on Weymouth Street, in central London.
The hospital provided those accommodations for her.
Police say they are continuing to try to establish the circumstances of Saldanha’s death and a post-mortem was being arranged.
“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” the hospital said in the statement Friday.
Further to the statement, the hospital confirmed that Saldanha was the first person who answered the phone and transferred the call. The hospital confirmed that she was the victim of the hoax by Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian and that the hospital had been supporting her “through this difficult time.”
LISTEN:Radio show makes crank call to hospital treating Kate
Saldanha had worked at the hospital for four years and was “an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues,” the hospital said. The BBC reports Saldanha was married with two children.
Believing that Prince Charles and the Queen were on the phone inquiring about Kate’s condition, private medical information was relayed in a severe breach of privacy.
The BBC reported that Saldanha had not been suspended or disciplined by the hospital.
John Lofthouse, chief executive at King Edward VII’s Hospital, said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”
Said Lord Glenarthur, chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, said: “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.”
London police would not confirm details, but they say they are investigating the circumstances of a death of a woman at a central London residence.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson told the Toronto Star that it is not being treated as suspicious.
It is “unexplained,” the spokesperson said.
William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, reacted with sadness.
St. James’s Palace spokesman Nick Loughran said in a statement: “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.”
Some people on Twitter are blaming Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian at 2DayFM 104.1 for their prank call.
“I hope the two people responsible for the prank that caused a woman to take her life are very proud of themselves!! Disgraceful!” one Twitter user commented.
However, some on Twitter were calling for calm.
“Surely it's a bit knee jerk to lay the blame at the two dj's” one person tweeted.
Their Twitter accounts have been deleted.
Southern Cross Austereo, the media and entertainment company that operates the radio station, said in a statement that “(SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.”
The company’s CEO Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters and “they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances.”
The hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice “out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
The family of Saldanha issued a brief statement calling for privacy so they can grieve.
“We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha,” the statement read, according to the BBC.
Little so far is known about the victim.
The Daily Mail found a former neighbour who described her as a “nice, lovely lady.”
The Mail reported that the neighbour lived next door to Saldanha, her two sons and partner Benedict Barboza — known as Ben — at an address in Bristol several years ago.