Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Hospital protests over radio hoax

Jacintha Saldanha is thought to have committed suicide after the radio station hoax call to the Duchess of Cambridgeshire's hospital (Met Police/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the King Edward VII hospital in London, where she was treated for severe morning sickness

King Edward VII's Hospital in London condemned a prank phone call by a radio station that led to the death of nurse, as her family struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.

In a letter to the Australian radio station 2day FM's parent company, the hospital's chairman Lord Glenarthur said he wanted to "protest" against the "extremely foolish" gag which he branded "truly appalling".

His comments follow the apparent suicide on Friday of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who was on duty at the hospital when she was duped by DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian into helping reveal details about the Duchess of Cambridge's health.

Lord Glenarthur said her death was "tragic beyond words".

His 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, where the pregnant Duchess had been treated for a severe form of morning sickness, said the letter was sent earlier today.

Ms Saldanha was pronounced dead at staff accommodation close to the hospital.

She answered the presenters' call and, believing they were members of the Royal Family, put them through to another nurse who described Kate's condition in detail.

The nurse's devastated family were being comforted by relatives and friends at their terrace home at Greystoke Avenue, Southmead, Bristol.

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".

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