A receptionist who connected two Australian radio DJ prank callers with Kate Middleton‘s personal nurse two days ago has been found dead in London. The body of nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found at her residence near King James VII Hospital, where she had worked for four years.
Saldanha was working the switchboard when Mel Grieg and Michael Christian of Australian radio station 2Day FM called the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment for severe morning sickness. Using fake accents and identifying themselves as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, the radio hosts asked to speak to Middleton. They were transferred to her ward, where the nurse on duty provided sensitive, detailed information about her patient’s condition.
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The Daily Mail reports that the nurse, who lived in Bristol with her partner and two children but stayed in London while working, was found at her London flat. Emergency personnel were called, but were unable to revive her. Saldanha is suspected to have committed suicide.
2Day FM’s parent company said that Grieg and Christian have been suspended “until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
For their part, the hospital issued a statement asserting that she was a “first class nurse” and expressing their sadness at her death.
‘It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. 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. 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.’
St. James Palace said that the Duke and Duchess were “deeply saddened” about Saldanha’s death. The spokesman said that the couple had expressed no concern or made a complaint about her, and instead offered “full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.” The Duchess left the hospital yesterday after four days of treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum.
An investigation into the cause of Saldanha’s death will be ongoing.
Photos: Will Alexander/WENN.com