Friday, December 7, 2012

Nurse who was duped by prank call about Duchess Kate found dead

What began as a joke was eclipsed as an almost incomprehensible tragedy when the nurse who took a prank call from two Australian DJs, and transferred it to Kate Middleton's nurse, apparently took her own life. NBC's Michele Kosinski reports.

By Ian Johnston, NBC News

Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET: A nurse duped by a prank call made to the hospital where Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was treated for an extreme form of morning sickness was found dead Friday morning, the hospital said in a statement.

Two Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian of Sydney station 2Day FM, called the hospital earlier this week and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles asking to be put through to the ward. They were then given an update on Kate’s health by a nurse.

The woman’s body was found at an address in Weymouth Street, London, which is around the corner from King Edward VII Hospital on Beaumont Street. Police described the circumstance of her death as "unexplained."

“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” said the statement, which was released by the hospital's public relations firm.

Radio DJs impersonate royals, get lowdown on Kate

“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,” it said.

John Lofthouse, chief executive of King Edward VIII Hospital in London, read a statement to reporters expressing "deep sadness" on behalf of the hospital staff over the death of a nurse who had recently taken a prank phone call about Duchess Kate's pregnancy.
Jacintha Saldanha, who worked at the hospital for more than four years, was noted as an "excellent" colleague.

“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,” it added.

A statement released by Saldanha's family asks that the media respect their privacy at this difficult time.

Many took to the radio station’s Facebook page, posting strong-worded comments criticizing the DJs’ behavior.

“Wherever you sit, just beg forgiveness,” a commenter named Mel Lacey posted.

“They should be sacked for the awful way they are handling the results of this prank,” William Stead, another user, wrote on the page.

Media company Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM released a statement saying they "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."

NBC's Keir Simmons has more on the situation surrounding the death of a nurse in Britain who recently received a prank call for Duchess Kate.

The statement went on to say that CEO Rhys Holleran had spoken with the two DJs, who are "deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances. SCA and 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."

Duke, Duchess 'deeply saddened'A spokesman for St. James's Palace said that William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Kate were “deeply saddened” by Saldanha's death.

King Edward VII Hospital in London is still reeling from being seriously punked by two radio DJs who called and spoke to Kate's nurse. Meanwhile, the two Australians DJs apologized for their hoax. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

“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,” the spokesman added.

John Lofthouse, chief executive at King Edward VII's Hospital, was quoted as saying in the statement that "our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends."

Duchess Kate discharged from the hospital

"Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague," he added.

Lord Glenarthur, chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, said Saldanha was "a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us."

"She will be greatly missed," he said.

The police and ambulance services said the woman, who they did not name, was dead when they arrived.

“Police were called at approximately 9:35 [a.m. local time, 4:35 a.m. ET] Friday … to reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in Weymouth Street,” a spokeswoman for London’s Metropolitan Police told NBC News.

“London Ambulance Service attended and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident,” she added.

The police spokeswoman said the death was being treated as “unexplained” until an autopsy was carried out.

London Ambulance Service told NBC News that they were called to the scene 9:25 a.m. [4:25 a.m. ET].

Two ambulance crews and a duty officer crew went there, but the woman was found to be dead, the ambulance service said.

Olivia Harris/Reuters
Police officers walk outside King Edward VII hospital, central London, Friday.

No comments:

Post a Comment