Jacintha Saldanha Death: Nurse's Hospital Attacks Australian Radio Station 2Day FM Over Phone Prank

Hospital Attacks Australian Radio Station Over Prank Call Before Nurse's Death

The King Edward VII Hospital in London has sent a letter to the owners of the Australian radio station 2day FM condemning a prank phone call that preceded the death of one of its nurses.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead on Friday morning, two days after she was involved in a prank call from two of the stations' stars, Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

The letter, sent on Saturday by the hospital's chairman, Lord Glenarthur, calls the stunt "extremely foolish" and criticises the station for "the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses".

The letter comes as 2Day FM suspended the two presenters indefinitely, saw advertisers withdraw from the station and Ms Saldanha's family were said to be "very, very shocked and unhappy" at the nurse's death.

The hospital had previous stated that they had been fully supportive of the nurses after the prank call, and neither were disciplined for their role in the stunt.

Lord Glenarthur, who wrote the stern letter to the Australian broadcaster

Lord Glenarthur wrote the chairman of the station's owners, Southern Cross Austereo, that the fallout of the "premeditated and ill-considered actions" was "tragic beyond words".

Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM's parent company Southern Cross Austereo, stood by the two DJs, and said they were shocked and devastated by the news of Ms Saldanha's death.

He said he was confident the station hadn't broken any laws, noting that prank calls in radio have been happening "for decades."

"They're not just part of one radio station or one network or one country - they're done worldwide," he said.

Holleran said the pair had been offered counselling, adding: "These people aren't machines, they're human beings. We're all affected by this."

Greig and Christian called the hospital on Wednesday, impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles while speaking to two nurses, who divulged information on the Duchess of Cambridge's condition while she was being treated at the hospital.

The call, which was pre-recorded and approved before broadcast on Wednesday, was being replayed on the station in the early hours of Friday morning in Australia.

The Duchess was admitted due to hyperemesis gravidarum - a severe form of morning sickness - before leaving the hospital on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave King Edward VII's on Thursday

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent their condolences to Ms Saldanha's family on Friday.

In a statement, St James's Palace said: "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's Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."

A spokesman for the royals stressed that they had not complained to the hospital about the hoax call, telling the Press Association: "On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times."

A post-mortem examination will take place next week and the death is not being treated as suspicious, Scotland Yard said.

See the full text of Lord Glenarthur's letter below

Lord Glenarthur's letter to SCA chairman Max Moore-Wilton

I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms about the hoax call made from your radio station, 2DayFM, to this hospital last Tuesday.

King Edward VII’s Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call.

Then to discover that, not only had this happened, but that the call had been pre-recorded and the decision to transmit approved by your station’s management, was truly appalling.

The immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses who were simply doing their job tending to their patients.

The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is, frankly, tragic beyond words.

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.


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