Scrutiny Builds at Radio Station That Prank Called London Hospital

The two radio hosts of the Australian 2Day FM are receiving counselling. They have not been seen in public since the announcement of nurse Jacintha Saldanha's death on Friday.

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A bunch of flowers is left outside the nurses accommodation block by colleagues near the King Edward VII hospital in central London on December 8, 2012 in memory of nurse Jacintha Saldanha who was found dead the previous day.

The Australian radio station that prank called a London hospital where Kate Middleton was staying last week is reviewing its practices after the apparent suicide of a nurse who put through the call, reports BBC News. 

On Friday morning Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious near the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was recently treated for acute morning sickness. Saldanha died soon after. The mother of two had transferred to Middleton’s private ward a call from two Australian DJs pretending to be members of the royal family.

Neither presenter has gone on air or appeared in public since Saldanha’s death on Dec. 7. One of the hosts, Michael Christian, is believed to be in a Sydney hotel. Co-host Mel Greig’s whereabouts are unknown, writes the Telegraph. According to BBC News, they are receiving psychological counseling.

Max Moore-Wilton, chairman of Southern Cross Austereo, the company that owns the radio station, said Saturday night that his organization is taking “immediate action” to review its broadcast procedures in the wake of the incident.

His statement came in response to a Saturday letter from the chairman of the hospital, Simon Arthur, who wrote to Moore-Wilton:

I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms about the hoax call made from your radio station, 2Day FM, to this hospital last Tuesday. King Edward’s 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… 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.

Police in New South Wales, where the radio station is located, said they had been contacted by the London Metropolitan Police but have not yet been asked to take any specific action. Nick Kaldas, Deputy Commissioner police officer in New South Wales, told the Telegraph the London Metropolitan police may wish to speak to the radio hosts but that no interviews had yet been lined up.

Sandy Kaye, a PR spokesperson for the radio station said; “We are very concerned for the well-being of our talent… Mel is very vulnerable. She has been vulnerable in the past.” A close friend of the presenter also said; “everyone who knows Mel fears for her mental state. Yes, there are very real fears that she could self-harm and nobody wants that.” The radio host’s father said from his home in South Australia; “I don’t know where she is. I am very concerned for her. I have spoke to her but I have been told not to say anymore.”

Meanwhile the board of Southern Cross is meeting Sunday to discuss the international anger the hoax has caused. They have suspended all advertising on 2Day FM until further notice. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called Jacintha Saldanha’s death a “terrible tragedy,” saying “our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time,” reports the Telegraph.