Even as public condemnations grew over the hoax call by two Australian radio presenters that led to the death of Jacintha Saldhana, an Indian-origin nurse of King Edward VII hospital here, the Buckingham Palace was at pains to state that the royal couple “at no point” made a complaint against the nurse and “on the contrary… offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved.”
Mel Greig and Michael Christian called the hospital early on Tuesday morning posing as the Queen and Prince Charles to obtain details of the medical condition of Duchess of Cambridge Kate William, who was being treated there for pregnancy-related sickness. Ms. Saldhana, who took the call, transferred it to the duty nurse.
The hospital clarified that Ms. Saldhana had not been disciplined and described her as an “excellent nurse… well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.”
Hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur on Saturday sent a letter to Max Moore-Wilton, Chairman of Southern Cross Austereo, owners of the radio station, protesting “in the strongest possible terms’’ against its presenters’ bid to “lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call.”
Ms. Saldhana’s family said they were “deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha.”
The 46-year-old mother of two from the Mangalore region was described by her neighbours as a “nice, lovely lady.” She and her husband Benedict “Ben” Barboza, came to Britain about 10 years ago after spending some time in West Asia and had a home in Bristol. Since moving to King Edward VII Hospital four years ago, she divided her time between London and Bristol. She used to call herself jokingly as a “nurse for the Queen.”
She was reported to be “very lonely and confused” after the incident.
Police said a post-mortem examination was likely next week.