Hospital staff mourn loss of colleague after prank call

Added by on December 7, 2012

Police guard the entrance of the King Edward VII hospital, where a nurse – the victim of a prank call – worked and was found dead in a suspected suicide

A prank call to a London hospital has left hospital staff mourning the loss of a colleague after authorities found the nurse who answered the phone call, dead near the hospital.

The nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, was the first person to receive a prank phone call by two Australian DJs pretending to be the Queen and Prince of Wales. In a recoding of the call, published by the the DJs’ radio station, Saldanha transfers the prank call to the ward in which Kate Middleton was staying, after being admitted for morning sickness.

“At no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident”, said a St. James Palace spokesperson.

Saldanha was found dead by police that were called to a location near the hospital to investigate reports of an unconscious woman. Saldanha was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics tried to revive her.

“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 King Edward VII hospital chief executive John Lofthouse.

The St. James Palace spokes person added,”…we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”

The DJs involved in the phone call, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, broadcast their prank call to the London hospital from the Australian 2DayFM radio station on Wednesday morning.

Impersonating the Queen, Miss Greig asked to speak to her “granddaughter, Catherine”. Saldanha, who answered the phone call, transferred Greig to the ward in which Kate Middleton was being treated. The call resulted in the disclosure of private medical details about Middleton’s condition.

Saldanha has worked for King Edward VII hospital for four years.

The DJs were chastised on Twitter after news of the nurse’s death became widely known. Many called for the DJs to resign.

Saldanha’s death is considered by police as unexplained and the cause of death has been published, yet a source close to the matter said suicide is suspected.

The royal family regularly uses the services of The King Edward VII hospital.

Anyone considering suicide or self-harm is encouraged to contact their local suicide prevention hotline, a local hospital, a counselor, or a close family member or friend.