Family Grieves for Nurse Who Died After Royal Prank

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Olivia Harris / Reuters

A stretcher is brought from a private ambulance into the block of flats where the nurse Jacintha Saldanha lived near the King Edward VII Hospital in central London.

The family members of a nurse who apparently killed herself after falling victim to a hoax call last week from an Australian radio station, patching two disc jockeys through to another nurse who revealed details about the health of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, have begun to tell of their devastation at the nurse’s death.

Benedict Barboza, the husband of the dead nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, posted on his Facebook page, according to The Daily Mail: “I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances. She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.” Saldanha, who died on Friday, was the mother of two teenage children, a boy and a girl.

(MORE: Duchess Kate’s Hospital Nurse in Suspected Suicide Over Prank Call)

The Duchess, who is married to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and the second in line to the British throne, was in the private hospital in Central London where Saldanha worked because she was suffering from acute morning sickness. The Duchess is in the early stages of pregnancy. A statement released on Friday by St. James’s Palace, which speaks for the couple, says, “the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha” and that “their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.” The palace also confirmed that at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the prank call. Nevertheless, Saldanha appears to have been deeply affected by her role in the slip-up.

Benedict Barboza’s mother, Carmine Barboza, who spoke to journalists at her home in Sorkala, India, said the family had no idea Saldanha had been caught up in the controversy over the prank call.

“Benedict used to call every day but neither he nor Jacintha said anything about what had happened. Everything seemed normal,” Carmine Barboza, 69, told The Guardian. “We got a call last night from Benedict informing us that Jacintha had died. He was crying and couldn’t speak much. We don’t know whether we’ll be able to bring her dead body back to India but we desperately hope so.”

“We spoke to Benedict again this morning, and he said he hasn’t been allowed to see her body yet because of legal formalities and she’ll not be handed over before Monday. We want to bring her dead body to India to perform her last rites.”

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the two disc jockeys who made the call, pretended to be the Queen and Prince Philip in order to obtain details about the Duchess’s health. Facing enormous hostility from people in Australia and internationally, the two presenters have not made any comments in public. But Rhys Holleran, chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the radio station the two work for, 2Day FM, told reporters in Melbourne: “I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it’s fair to say they are completely shattered. These people aren’t machines, they’re human beings. What happened is incredibly tragic and we’re deeply saddened and we’re incredibly affected by that.”

MORE: Kate Middleton’s Royal Baby: What Do Londoners Think?

66 comments
joanypinter
joanypinter

Rhys Holleran said the two presenters were 'completely shattered'.  Well that's nice.  Are they going to speak to Jacintha's husband and family? It is NOT about the presenters and their consequential feelings.  It is about  expressing whatever those feelings are in public and maybe this will not happen again. Perhaps they should resign?  Something is very wrong when the chasing of information (a story)and getting it in whatever way it can be gotten, completely disregards and trods upon a human being with feelings.

GaryRMcCray
GaryRMcCray

The way this story is being reported media wide leaves far more questions than answers.

The "Prank" and the suicide seem very widely separated and as reported it is very hard to come up with any reasonable understanding of what took place.

Basically we are just presented with 2 relevant facts. The Nurse who took the "Prank" call and her suicide which doesn't even seem to have any corroborating explanation for it's connection to the phone call.

There is a very significant information gap here and it certainly rests on more than the simple fact of the phone call and could quite likely have more to do with how she was treated by the people she worked for or even MI5 after the fact.

In all likelihood it is what happened in the gap after the phone call that caused her to commit suicide, but as usual, the British are simply leaving out the relevant facts because it would reflect badly on them.

Of course, none of this has been presented to us so we basically know nothing and this way it simply makes no sense.

jdherbey
jdherbey

commiting suicide over a prank call is very odd.

ChristinaDavis
ChristinaDavis

Why doesn't anyone else find it odd that someone would kill themselves over telling the wrong person the person she works for has morning sickness.  Extremely suspicious.

NancyGreen
NancyGreen

People who have family in the hospital may find the staff a little more wary and liability minded after this violation of a formerly safe space.

lolly_52
lolly_52

False impersonation with the goal of obtaining private information is a crime in most countries. If I go to a house, introduce myself as a bank officer, with the goal of obtaining their check book accounts - that is a crime.

These DJs were being paid by a major corporation to obtain private information via false impersonation for a radio show.  

The DJs committed a crime for profit.

I hope charges are brought against the DJs. I hope Barboza sues Southern Cross Austereo.

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

This event is a tragedy...but in no way, shape, or form are the DJ's responsible for the actions of another. The nurse CHOSE to take her own life and that action was hers and hers alone. I think it was under duress, but again, it was ultimately her choice. Why are we always looking for someone to blame when things go awry? Good mental health requires a person to be able to take negative things and see them as lessons rather than internalize them as character defects. 

alwaysbefrank
alwaysbefrank

peer and social pressure had a big role in this tragedy. This incident should've been treated lightheartedly. Instead, too many people around her took it too seriously. Blaming her, insulting her as if it's a crime against humanity.It's just a prank. lighten up.

914phone
914phone

Wall Street uses the term MUPPETS; current media thinks we are all their playthings.  Bad ethics is profitable.  How do we fix this?

IreneFogel
IreneFogel

All hospitals in UK need to have HIPPA laws in place and stress and train their nurses how to deal with any and all inquiries regarding patients -- should be part of a signed agreement at the time of employment--the UK is not so different than the US--do they have any HIPPA laws or regulations in the UK?    

jan33jmj33
jan33jmj33

First of all, this is not a "prank". The two disc jockeys impersonated members of the royal family in order to obtain confidential information about a person who is hospitalized. In the state I live in, impersonating an individual in order to obtain confidential information about someone who is hospitalized or under the care of a doctor is against the law. It is not clear in the artical if the phone call was broadcast on the radio. If it was, that, too, is against the law. That is making public what should be confidential information. The fact that these radio personalities were impersonating high level members of the royal family in order to make public confidential medical information public about another high level member of the royal family is a security breach. The nurse obviously understood the gravity of what transpired. I believe the disc jockeys should be taken into custody and that the hospital needs to maintain a much more stringent procedure when responding to requests about high profile people in their care. There are serious security concerns here. It is not a joke and the poor nurse understood this. My sympathy goes out to her family.

NancyGreen
NancyGreen

as a nurse I can say that allowing a breach of confidentiality and making an error that affects a patient would make any nurse despondent. Jacintha Saldanha may have had other stresses, but that prank was hurtful to her personally and professionally.

robcmcse
robcmcse

The woman was emotionally challenged.  Committing suicide over a silly prank call is not the act of a stable individual.

SmallSpeakHouse
SmallSpeakHouse

@GaryRMcCray I agree with you, and I'd also been wondering about this. Did she leave a note saying why? Was there any indication to say that this was truly the cause? Or was it just an unfortunate sequence of unrelated events?

IreneFogel
IreneFogel

@ChristinaDavis  i think the answer lies in how the administrative department/person handled this with the nurse -- i am guessing and just guessing that they not only embarrased and humiliated her for breaking confidentiality but the hospital was brought to task by the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace -- which in itself is quite a disgrace, especially to a person not of Brit culture  -- here in US we would be screaming for equal rights, discrimination, etc.  Big difference in culture.   

RichSnyder
RichSnyder

@NancyGreen I would think the hospital should be just as concerned (or more so) about WHY someone was able to get patient info with a prank phonecall.  The hospital said they would review/modify protocol, but people would feel better about this place if they gave some details of why/how this happened, and steps they'd take to avoid it from happening in the future.  Here in US, the caller would probably be told they'd have to sign a release and that NO info could be given over the phone - I'm sure had it really been the queen, she'd respect this.

whatatravesty
whatatravesty

the only thing more absurd than blaming these DJs for doing exactly whatthey are paid to do,which is entertain, is the notion that these"royals" walk on hallowed ground."Crime for profit"...what the hell areyou talking about? Nobody paid them specifically to call thehospital.There was never any malicious intent. You,no doubt,are aliberal. No freakin' common sense!

Piacevole
Piacevole

If these "presenters" had not giggled their way into persuading themselves that they had a good idea for a laugh, everyone, including the nurse, would have been saved a lot of trouble.  Their problem was that they thought only as far as their little prank, and didn't begin to consider any possible repercussions of it.  Their situation amounts to the negligence of adolescents who set up a situation of disaster, and then plead ignorance when it ensues.  "We didn't know that someone might die if we dropped bricks off an overpass onto a highway!  We thought the cars would just swerve a little."  Right.

jan33jmj33
jan33jmj33

@914phone I tried to address this in my reply. the family and the hospital need to press charges against the dis jockeys. the hospital needs to develop secure protocols for dealing with issues of confidentiality.

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@NancyGreen Get a grip. If nurses and docs started killing themselves over a prank, they would have to kill themselves and their entire families when their own actions were responsible for an actual patient mortality. I don't know what kind of nurse you are, but perhaps you might wish to see a psychiatrist for a consult.

nicmart
nicmart

@NancyGreen 

Errors by nurses kill thousands of Brits and Americans every year. That fact doesn't seem to drive them to suicide.

Pinbear
Pinbear

@robcmcse

I don't have any intention to attack other's culture or civilization, but as per I know India is in top of suicide case. There are many Indian movies which show suicide scene over something small, and I recall the time when the PM of Malaysia send a message to institutional movie censorship to ban/reduce any Hindi or Tamil movie (even one of the box office movie starring by top star Aiswarya Rai showed suicide scene over broken heart) which consist of any suicide scene because they have brought big influence to Indian Tamil community in Malaysia (the suicide case among Tamil was in rise). So, it may have something to do with her native culture, need further empirical research though

bunuel
bunuel

@IreneFogel @ChristinaDavis 

i think you hit the nail on the head here. There has been a media feeding frenzy on this story that has assumed a very murky cause and effect relationship long before the facts are in - anyone can fall innocent victim to a silly prank, and the key issue here is how Ms. Saldanha's supervisor responded. The British royal PR Machine has been whipping up media hysteria about the royals around the world, and trying to punish anyone who does anything they don't like, and this looks like more of the same. If anyone is responsible for this unfortunate woman's death, it is them - and not these Aussie radio DJs, who did not break any laws and were doing something in the spirit of Monty Python and British send-up humor. What is distressing is the American media acting like the British royals also reign over the US; they seem to have forgotten why we had the American Revolution. This entire story is a non-story , just like the topless picture story was. If the pregnant woman in the hospital was, say, Kim Kardashian, or someone else famous for being famous, would it get this kind of hysterical coverage?

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

@whatatravesty "There was never any malicious intent" committing a fraud by telling a lie is malicious by definition.  Making a fool of someone and holding them to public embarrassment can only be malicious.   The personal attack you make by declaring a monopoly on common sense to be held by Conservatives belies the latent hostility in your heart. 

Piacevole
Piacevole

Perhaps a somewhat different definition of "entertainment" would be in order.  Attempting to find out private information by misrepresenting oneself should not be categorized as "entertainment."  Any couple should have the right to control the dissemination of private information about themselves, the royal family no less than anyone else.  It was an inappropriate prank, which turned out to have further very unfunny consequences.  Tell me, is doing things like this supposed to be a conservative trait?

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@Piacevole Nice attempt to place "blame" on the DJ's...sorry pia...but the nurse CHOSE to take her life...no one held a gun to her head...much as if you read these comments that say you're an idiot and decide to take your own life...that is your choice...

dl1134
dl1134

@Piacevole  I am in total agreement with your response.  I believe this nurse got a good chewing out by her superiors or perhaps people who work for the Queen and committed suicide as a result of her extreme distress.  Those 2 idiot DJ's - and the company they work for - perpetrated this irresponsible and moronic prank and need to take responsibility for their actions and what transpired as a result.  Of course, it doesn't bring back that poor man's wife or the children's mother!  What a senseless loss - all for a stupid prank by 2 idiots. 

jdherbey
jdherbey

are you saying most people would commit suicide over a prank call? i know most people would die from the brick.

RichSnyder
RichSnyder

@Piacevole Nice try, but this was a LOT different than someone dropping bricks from an overpass - there is about 100% chance of death if a brick hits a windshield and hits someone.  Pranks like this are done all the time - the 2nd nurse didn't give out anything that wasn't already on the news.  The first nurse (Jacintha) didn't give out any info at all - though she probably broke some kind of protocol... the hospital says they were supportive, but the nurses probably got some words about this, and it's more likley her suicide was over getting spoken to at work.  I'm sorry Jacintha was so sensitive that she committed suicide, but I don't blame the pranksters.  Consider Sarah Palin's humiliation over the call from "Nicolas Sarkozy" or Jenny Jones feelings when that gay guy got killed (after revealing he liked a straight guy on her show).  Stuff happens in life - I sense something else was going on in Jacintha's.  Maybe it will be revealed or maybe people will continue to blame the DJs 100%.  

What comes out of this incident is watch for danger signs in people - something that should be insignificant may send them over the edge.

jan33jmj33
jan33jmj33

@Piacevole thank you for being a voice of reason! excellent comment!

914phone
914phone

For the pupose of entertainment - no intent, no crime; just bad moral character and ethics to get better ratings. I truly sympathize with the family.  Hospital may have been able to offer better support to prevent such a tragedy . . .

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@NancyGreen @robcmcse Did the poster say it was OK, or are you showing another of your many thinking errors? Sad to hear that you are a nurse...I'd hate to think about your poor patients...

MacMcIntire
MacMcIntire

@NancyGreen @robcmcse Comedy is one of those grey areas where something that appears harmless to one person, is not for another. Most people need to unwind a little and laugh at situations, instead of committing suicide. I believe this woman also had a mental sickness. I'm so sorry she took her own life, but I cannot put the fault on the radio DJs.

Piacevole
Piacevole

It shows no such thing.  It's the same thing as yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, and having panic ensue.  Some people might find this amusing; most people would not.  If some were trampled in the resultant crush, the person(s) who instigated the panic would have little success arguing that they haden't "intended" for anyone to die, that anyone who did panic "had mental issues."  As for anyone being "offended" by your remarks, I'm sure that people would consider the source, and discount them.  But in this case, the vallidity of the source is subject to cool evaluation.

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@dl1134 @Piacevole I'm amazed at the stupidity that passes for logic or intellectual reasoning on here...

So if you are offended by my remarks that you are an idiot and take your own life, I'm responsible? Sorry...that logic fails to meet scrutiny...we are all SELF responsible for our own actions...millions of others might have been in that nurses shoes and NOT killed themselves as witnessed by those in the medical profession who actually DO commit some actions that results in a patient death and white contrite and remorseful, go on and learn from that tragedy...the nurse killing herself only showed that she had mental issues that were exacerbated by the prank...

bigj92
bigj92

@dl1134 @Piacevole Both of you are wrong, you do not prank call a hospital or workplace! Also it is "purported to be suicide". Example, a president or prime minister was staying at the hospital and if you actually took pride in your work and this happened, it would be devastating and embarrassing as you would be worried about the consequence etc especially in a small country like England. Also they posed as somebody to get information, doesn't matter if it was a prank! This prank went too far!

Piacevole
Piacevole

Even if a brick hits a windshield, there isn't a 100% chance of death.  But the problem is that there is the fairly high >possibility< of grievous harm or death in doing such a thing, and that's why it is such a bad idea.  Even if the death or injury of somebody in a car driving under wasn't the >intent< of the person dropping the object, the possibility of it occurring ought to be obvious.  Therefore, it's not a good idea; in fact, it's a very bad idea..

The same applies to this.  Perhaps the severity of the consequence wasn't immediately obvious, but the poor judgment remains.  Now that the result has occurred, there will probably be some further difficulties for the perpetrators.

nikavt
nikavt

   Don't be so dumb as to aver that this would NEVER happen in the USA.  Give me a break!  What about the medical info that has been leaked from UCLA's med center about various celebrities?  Doesn't have anything to do with "knowing better."  Staff at hospitals give out confidential in the US whether due to being duped or deliberately because they're paid for it.  

Piacevole
Piacevole

I don't know that we "know better."  Pranks of this sort just haven't happened here. . . lately.  Our children can be just as silly as Australian children.  The general problem with this was immaturity of the pranksters, and their inability to put themselves into someone else's shoes to look at the receiving end of their game.

jan33jmj33
jan33jmj33

@914phone the "intent" was to obtain confidential information about an individual who is escorted by at least two secret service men at all times while in public. Again, this action, impersonating someone to obtain confidential medical information, in my state, is a crime. It is a crime. If this was done over the radio, another crime. Yes, impersonating the queen anf prince philip is always funny. But the INTENT ends up being a legal issue. Please do not confuse the issues. For those who say "lighten up".....what if the medical issue was not just morning sickness, what if there were other complications....would YOU want a medical condition broadcast to the masses about YOU or your child? Don't be so dumb. And don't confuse the humor of a queen impersonation with the seriousness of what took place. This would NEVER happen in the USA. We know better!

NancyGreen
NancyGreen

@DeltaForce1 @NancyGreen I work with mental health practitioners. They don't use psychiatry as an insult, or diagnose people they don't know. That's because their words have consequences to real people. But you can't argue with faith, so keep on believing.

Piacevole
Piacevole

But you do not know any such thing.  You are not qualified to make such a diagnosis, particularly from a posting here: no professional would do such a thing.

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@Piacevole pia baby...perhaps the quote you were attempting so poorly to utilize was one that you yourself have fallen victim to:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Thank you for allowing us all to see your foolishness :)

bunuel
bunuel

@IreneFogel @NancyGreen @Piacevole Right again, Irene!

In any place of work, there will be stressful encounters with external forces, and the key issue is how the supervisors handled this one. Indeed, one might be justified in asking just who exactly decided to leak the death of this nurse and blame it on  the DJs, who, being Australians, are a very convenient scapegoat for the Brits. Otherwise, as you state, we are not privy to many of the facts here , so it is impossible to draw any reasonable conclusion about these events. Clearly, that does not deter many from the pleasures of self-righteous indignation, but that is their problem!:)

IreneFogel
IreneFogel

@NancyGreen @Piacevole  The DJ's are not to blame -- it is the hospital that should have protected their employee -- even though the phone was handed back and forth and a tiny piece of information was leaked -- if they would have stood behind this nurse she would not have committed suicide.  Instead she had to suffer, shame, humiliation, defamation of character, etc. alone, etc.  Apparently she only went home to her family on weekends and lived during the week at the hospital.  We should know by now who the last person to speak to her at the hospital was.  It was not the DJ's fault even though their stupidity led to the phone call but the final blow came with how the hospital handled the situation with the nurse.  This we are not privy too.    

NancyGreen
NancyGreen

@Piacevole Kate Middleton was a young woman experiencing her first pregnancy, sick in the hospital. The decent thing  would be to leave her alone. The pranksters were young and carried away with themselves, their supervisors approved the broadcast. I blame the radio execs, they are lawyered up but seem worried. If you pull a practical joke and someone gets hurt do you blame the world for being unpredictable?

Piacevole
Piacevole

""The more you open your mouth the more you are showing your problems."

Indeed, Mr. Force, you are.

DeltaForce1
DeltaForce1

@NancyGreen @RichSnyder @Piacevole Another thinking error nurse green...taking the one and applying it to the many...good on you...the more you open your mouth the more you are showing your problems...

NancyGreen
NancyGreen

@RichSnyder @Piacevole It's likely that people who have family in the hospital will now have a harder time getting in touch with them or their nurses-- a colder and less trusting world is not a great place to be when you need help.

RichSnyder
RichSnyder

@Piacevole But again, nothing BAD came out of this - the info given was already on the news... "resting now, hasn't retched on my shift, etc", then discussion of when 'Philip" could stop by to see her.  NOTHING came out of this...  Consider Sarah Palin humiliated by "Nicholas Sarkozy" or when that gay guy got killed after revealing his "secret crush" on another guy (who killed him).  This hospital incident was more about the nurses not following some protocol (don't give out info to ANYONE about a patient unless you have a signed release. 

Piacevole
Piacevole

Let's frame this in in a slightly different view: suppose a guard was fooled by someone who approached for entry, admitted the person, and harm was done to those under the guard's protection.  Suppose, further, that the guard became a target of not only laughter, but also contempt: "How could s/he fall for THAT?"  The immediate load of shame could be overwhelming, even to a normally stable person.