Following the tragic news surrounding Jacintha Saldanh—a hospital nurse that reportedly committed suicide in the wake of a prank phone call from a radio show—the hospital staff and the royal palace are speaking up.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha,” a statement from St. James’s Palace reads. “Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”
According to the official release from the royal couple’s reps, Kate Middleton received excellent care during her brief stay at King Edward VII’s Hospital.
It is currently unclear why Ms. Saldanha would take her own life, but the hospital is adamant that they were supportive in the wake of the prank incident earlier this week.
“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital,” a statement from King Edward VII’s Hospital reads. “The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.”
According to the statement, Saldanha has been a staffer at King Edward VII for over four years. She is described as an “excellent nurse” and “well respected” in the hospital’s community.
As we previously reported, Sydney-based radio station 2Day FM prank-called the hospital pretending to be the queen. In a recording of the call, Saldanha—believing she was speaking to the actual queen—connected the station to another staffer who proceeded to give out personal information on Kate Middleton. The Duchess was being hospitalized for “acute morning sickness.”
A statement from the John Lofthouse, Chief Executive at King Edward VII’s Hospital, confirms that Saldanha was the first person that answered the phone in the recording.
“I can confirm that Jacintha was the first person who answered the phone,” says Lofthouse. “She was a nurse.”
Saldanha was found unconscious near the hospital at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. Responding emergency crews were unable to revive her.
Lofthouse says he is surprised by the heartbreaking turn of events and communicates the hospital’s collective sadness at their loss.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends," says Lofthouse. "Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”