UK hospital hoax nurse kills herself

2012-12-07 18:15

London - A staff member at a hospital which treated Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine was found dead in a suspected suicide on Friday, days after being duped by a hoax call from an Australian radio station, reports said.

British police confirmed that they were investigating the "unexplained death" of a woman whose body was discovered at a property near the King Edward VII hospital in central London.

Several British newspapers reported the death of a staff member but there were conflicting reports as to what role the woman had at the hospital.

In what it billed as the "biggest royal prank ever", two presenters from Sydney's 2Day FM station called the hospital on Monday pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and William's father Prince Charles.

They asked to speak to the former Kate Middleton and a hospital receptionist then put them through to a nurse who gave the presenters private details of the Duchess of Cambridge's severe morning sickness.

The Daily Mail newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying that the woman appeared to have killed herself at an address just metres away from the hospital.

Unexplained death

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: "Police were called at 09:25 this morning to reports of a woman unconscious at an address in Weymouth Street, W1.

"London Ambulance Service attended and a woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident. The death is being treated as unexplained."

A source in the emergency serices told AFP that while the death was being treated as unexplained it was not thought to be suspicious.

Presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian said sorry earlier this week for the call, even as the station was milking the publicity for it.

"We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents," the presenters said in a statement.

"We're very sorry if we've caused any issues and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well."

Kate was admitted to hospital on Monday with acute morning sickness and left on Thursday, saying she was feeling much better.

Her admission to hospital was the first the world knew of her pregnancy. It will be the couple's first child and will be third in line to the British throne after Charles and William.

  • yar.wellnofine - 2012-12-07 18:28

    I wonder if those smartarse Aussie radio-twerps are really sorry now? The did not even think about the way it affects other people. It must have really hurt that poor nurse.

      yar.wellnofine - 2012-12-07 19:26

      @gwilym I just love the way you say "topped herself". Have you grasped the level of personal tragedy. Clearly she was not able to deal with this problem. The problem was not of her making. Please don't give the likes of those aussies any excuse, they don't deserve it.

      paul.bester1 - 2012-12-07 19:38

      @YarWellnofine I like the way you've immediately put blame on the aussie radio presenters. Her death may be completely unrelated to the prank call. Why don't you wait and see before judging?

      yar.wellnofine - 2012-12-07 19:44

      @ paul Yes, I understand what you are saying. Do you really think there is some other reason? Please get real.

      pagel.trivia - 2012-12-07 21:10

      It is tragic, but they could not foresee this.

      delish7564 - 2012-12-07 23:13

      @pagel and caryn In my opinion this is tragic and all because two people thought it would be funny to play a prank without thinking through the possible consequences...I hope they're proud of themselves. You say they couldn't have foreseen or should be held responsible for what happened, perhaps not, But, this is an often used excuse and is a cop out for people not taking responsibility for their behaviour. It was unprofessional to say the least!

      pagel.trivia - 2012-12-07 23:41

      @delish: Seriously? Problem is that we are always looking for someone to blame. Something terrible happened, so someone must pay and be made an example of. Sometimes bad things just happen. So if I address someone working for me because of poor performance at work and the person commits suicide I am to blame (he/she might have a hard time at home etc)? Hindsight is a perfect science.

      John - 2012-12-08 00:17

      Hmm... My buddies girlfriend said she'd commit suicide if he broke up with he doesn't else he will be the reason for her death....the insensitive b*stard!!!! :)

      John - 2012-12-08 00:22

      Hmmm.... I was teased in bad taste and embarrassed in front of work colleagues. I don't think I can handle it, maybe I should commit suicide too!!! It was my boss and he's a kiwi b*stard!! I should've committed suicide right there and then! That will teach him for being unprofessional!!!! And if anyone tries to defend him, they will be labelled, looked down on and be called insensitive because you shouldn't tease people!!! I mean, really...

      John - 2012-12-08 00:25

      And if I'm dead, no one will dare criticise me but all will give me their pity, because all dead people have a sad story and should be felt sorry for - what a cunning plan this suicide idea is...

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-12-08 00:49

      What exactly "must have hurt that poor nurse" ?? Firstly no one knows that this WAS a suicide ...and if it was , no one knows why. All this poor person did was TRANSFER the call .....she wasn't the person who had a conversation with the Ozzie Radio DJs. By the way I am not defending the radio DJs ...I think they are scum ...but journalists writing trash without getting the facts right are also bottom feeders

      werner.nel.984786 - 2012-12-08 08:47

      At the very least that poor nurse would have been fired. I wonder if these 2 a$$holes thought about that.

      john.silver.3572846 - 2012-12-08 09:29

      Blaming 1 radio show for a completely harmless prank (and it was harmless compared to any whackhead one I ever heard) is garbage. I wonder if the hospital management is taking any blame for the kind of response they put on her for making a gods honest error that caused no harm to anyone.

      dolphindunes.guesthouse - 2012-12-08 15:43

      It is their job to entertain. They could not forsee that they will talk to a dimwit.

      Rick.Gonzo.56 - 2012-12-08 16:29

      aussie degenerates. i hope they both meet the same fate

      adriaan.kuppens - 2012-12-08 19:21

      I have listened to the clip of the radio hoax, and I think it was meant to be innocent. Unfortunately this innocent prank would have caused the nurse to be the ridicule of her peers and public. Her professional career was over, and she was also a threat to homeland security for divulging information like this, although it was actually harmless. Thus the innocent prank has had consequences that may or may not have led to her alleged suicide. It may have been innocent, but the Ausies should have thought twice.

  • Ntutu Dlova - 2012-12-07 18:49

    Who s the idiot now? those stupid presenters must be so proud . how does it feel to be responsible for a persons death

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-12-07 19:22

      Yup, I hate prank calls myself, but they are a staple on many countries' radio and tv shows. People love them. No one can foretell the outcome of a prank call. This lady could actually have been a celebrity if she had played her cards right. Sad for her family though, if this indeed was the cause of her death.

      flyswat - 2012-12-07 19:23

      There is such a thing as patient confidentiality. She was not supposed to divulge anything to anybody without the prior written consent of the Dutchess. She went off her rocker when she realized what sort of backlash she was going to have to endure. I guess I'd also be better off dead if that happened to me. Either that or disappear without a trace for good.

      phillip.marchant.52 - 2012-12-07 19:35

      Clearly stable enough to be considered suitable to be intimately close to the most precious assets and saviours of Great Britain and the world - the royals. No, a rather embarrassing (at best) breach of hospital security occurred, and who knows how the superintendent reacted to it. Did the nurse become the 'fall-guy'? I don't think we over the sea can quite fathom the huge stigma attached, and those who knew her must have known that she was a sensitive person - why was she not put 'on watch', or at least counselled?

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-12-07 19:38

      Good point Flyswat, but it must be said that the entire hospital messed up here. Surely when you have a high-profile patient, extra security and precautions are the norm. How did the call get through to the room without screening first. One would think that there would be protocol with elitist patients. Cannot blame the nurse only.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-12-07 19:03

    People enjoy pranks. South Africans go crazy over Leon Schusters childish pranks on the public. Americans love Candid Camera. Jeremy Mansfield and that other Darren Chump used to also play prank calls on people. Suddenly, because it is a royal, the Aussies need to apologise?!? Does not make sense.

      francois.lacock - 2012-12-07 19:15

      Unlike other pranks that gets edited before viewing this went out life f@%$*ng this ladies life up completely!!!

      shooshyu.tu - 2012-12-07 19:16

      It's not just because "it's a royal" as you put it, it is more about he tragic end of life that this prank has resulted in. If a prank conducted by any of the other pranksters, you mentioned, had the same end result there would also be calls for the offending prankster/s to apologise. Hopefully this now makes sense?

      flyswat - 2012-12-07 19:24

      victor, nobody killed anyone here!

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-12-07 19:28

      Shoosh, these guys needed to apologise before the nurse's death. Again, just because it is a royal. I do not believe that live radio prank calls are edited. Jhb radio loves doing just that and listeners seem to have no problem with it.

  • veldt66 - 2012-12-07 19:26

    It's very sad, I can imagine the pressure that was on this poor woman.

  • mo.hartley.14 - 2012-12-07 19:29

    I to am amazed tht the call even got through. Thank heavens it was an aussie and not Whakhead!!!!! Condolences to her sad

  • cathysocks - 2012-12-07 19:46

    As nurses we are taught over and over to NOT discuss any info on a patient unless there is written permission from the patient to do so. Anyone can call and say they are a patient's relatives etc. So even if I have written permission to discuss a patient's condition, I still wouldn't, unless I KNEW the person was who they say they are. That might include meeting them in person and asking the patient in front of them, if it's OK to discuss their case. She made a mistake. But not one worthy of killing herself, so this is very sad, because she clearly had some sort of problem to begin with. Who knows, there is more to this than meets the eye , I suspect.

      jcoetzee1975 - 2012-12-07 23:06

      Cathy please put a sock in it. Somebody else picked the phone up and transferred the call to the poor nurse, probably telling her that this is the queen. She did not pick up the phone herself.

      John - 2012-12-08 00:35

      Thank you cathy - someone getting off their high horse and talking sense. A mistake was made - deal with it. Death is sad anywhere. Suicide is selfish and everyone seems to romanticise it.

  • veldt66 - 2012-12-07 20:00

    She only transferred the call

  • sibongile.m.mbatha - 2012-12-07 20:09

    Hope dey r veri happy wit demselves. Smart dushbags.

  • lynda.pitcher.1 - 2012-12-07 20:26

    so sad...I suppose the British Press hounded her as well

  • lisa.cunninghammulvey - 2012-12-07 20:27

    If there wasn't such a big deal made of the royal family this would not have happened. Straight away police investigation! she is not the first woman to have a baby. There are lots of woman out there that have morning sickness and don't get the care and support they need they have to get on with it. There is far too much publicity about these people, who cares if she has 1 or 10 kids!

      delish7564 - 2012-12-07 23:20

      Of course there will be a Police investigation, there always is when a body is found, it's standard procedure. This has nothing to do with the Royals!

      lisa.cunninghammulvey - 2012-12-08 23:11

      My heart goes out to this family. Listening to people and reading the papers today, majority of people seem to be blaming the DJ's, Every morning on our local radio station there is a prank call made, we all find it funny and the person being pranked see's the funny side too. So this nurse gave out a little information nothing we wouldn't have read in the papers anyway, It is only because of who the information was about that is the issue. You could hear it in this ladies voice that she was nervous about speaking to the Queen. It's a sad sad day for this ladies children and family.

  • shireen.abbas - 2012-12-07 20:33

    Rip !! Shame man ! Just imagine the shock and pressure this poor woman was put under !! Wouldn't be surprised if she was fired because of prank !! If it is heR ! Sympathies to the family

      sammjazz - 2012-12-07 20:53

      totally agree Shireen, that was exactly how i was thinking...she would've been put on the firing line because of taking in a call that she didn't realise was not legit. I really feel for her & now for her family.

  • philip.gray.10048 - 2012-12-07 20:36

    This shows that some folks in the journalism field have no ethics and morals. The Crown Court the will conduct the enquiry into her death should charge the two Aussies as complicit in her death. Their actions led to and were the cause of her death. They should have contacted the Royal media spokesperson for information. This tragedy just proves how underhanded some journalists are.

      Bob.Cee123 - 2012-12-08 00:37

      We don't know if the hospital fired her now, do we? Now this is just speculation, but if the hospital fired her without applying their minds to whether or not any of the other nurses would also have fallen for the prank, then the hospital may likely be more complicit than the prank callers. Had this been an honest mistake that any of the other nurses could have made, then the hospital cannot punish somebody for something everybody had the potential to fall for, can they? If she wasn't fired, yet was humiliated and chose death over facing her colleagues, then the poor girl was simply not stable. The hospital must answer why an unstable nurse was allowed amongst patients. We also don't know if the poor girl had any pre existing psychiatric issues. Rather wait to hear both sides of the story, rather than what appears to be just the hospital's and possibly even the Royal Family's PR machines' side of things.

  • nicola.killops - 2012-12-07 20:44

    Whackhead Simpson...take note! A joke is only funny if both parties are laughing. Very sad.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-12-07 21:04

    The pressure put on her was because of? Her hospital employers/ the Royal Family.

  • tatum.odwyer - 2012-12-07 23:54

    Some reports are saying it wasn't the woman who provided the information. It was the woman who transferred the call. Come on people! She left two children behind! Suicide is a selfish act and there can never be a justifiable reason for it unless an individual is of very ill mental health. Pretty disappointed in people's need to slag "Aussies" as a whole. It was the action of two people who happened to be Australian. Just to be completely hypocritical the "Brits" never could take a joke. What if one of the djs offed themselves? Would you all cry out in anger and blame the British media for slandering the Aussie radio station?

  • Bob.Cee123 - 2012-12-08 00:21

    Awfully sad that she died but why is the prank call being implied as the chief cause? If she was fired as a result of divulging information to the prank callers and/or perhaps had some pre-existing issues which rendered her prone to suicidal tendencies etc then the hospital is more to blame than the prank calling radio station. If she was already fragile at the time the call came through and was left feeling ashamed and vulnerable after the humiliation of the call and the obvious dressing down she received afterwards, on top of her already fragile state, this is still something outside the control of, and not reasonably foreseeable by the radio station who made the prank call. Did the hospital not have any kind of controls in place to prevent external calls regarding Kate's condition getting put directly through to the ward, and not screened by some kind of liaison? If this poor girl did end up bearing the brunt of the call, it sounds like the hospital has some kind of PR machine in motion to distance themselves from any liability. The hospital will need to explain why someone so fragile was allowed to work so close with patients. Not just royal patients. Any patients. They'll need to explain why her fragile state was not detected and addressed. They have people working close to her, the Aussie radio station doesn't. The hospital's legal and PR teams seem to be opportunistically seizing on the prank call as a means of deflecting liability.

      John - 2012-12-08 00:46

      Finally someone making sense. Death is always sad and sometimes tragic. This death was as a direct decision from the nurse herself, no one else. The breach of confidentiality was committed by those who transferred the call. The radio hosts prank may have been childish, but I think people should get off their high horse and stop blaming them. The nurse made the decision to leave her family behind, not the radio hosts. If she was unstable, what on earth was she doing attending to the UK's national treasure? If she was not unstable, then she was selfish for committing suicide and should've sucked up the pressure like the rest of us have to everyday. Death is always sad, but it irritates me no end when it is assumed by everyone that they were the victim and suddenly angels, and someone else should be blamed for it.

  • jacques.d.devilliers - 2012-12-08 02:47

    Here's another theory... Perhaps it was the royals who made it look like an accident...

      nic.nomicos.3 - 2012-12-09 13:24


  • jamesedmundbird - 2012-12-08 06:29

    this has got nothing to do with a little prank call, and everything to do with the stresses nurses experience on a day to day basis. Thats why the UK steals all our best nurses, cus they can handle the heat.

  • annie.israel.50 - 2012-12-08 13:26

    Very sad and the two people man and women from Australia who made these calls to the hospital should be accountable - they are both sick - they thought it was funny - my consolences to the family of this nurse - may both of these Aussie rot in hell = bastards

      Bob.Cee123 - 2012-12-08 14:25

      So, Anaska, do you mean religious 'Hell'? If it's the religious, literal 'Hell' i.e. the place you spend eternity for finite transgressions, do you not see the irony of your statement?

      Ollie - 2012-12-08 20:29

      There was no intent for any serious harm from the radio hosts obviously this poor women had other issues going on!

      nic.nomicos.3 - 2012-12-09 13:23

      @Ollie I agree 100%.....@Anaska don't forget that we have our very own Leon Schuster that's pranked this population on a massive scale and I don't recall any serious Ollies comment again..peace with you...

  • megalos.savvas - 2012-12-08 14:19

    Bulls#*t the royals are behind her death

      nic.nomicos.3 - 2012-12-09 13:15

      @Big.savvas I'm almost sure the royals gave her a good scolding...but to blame them for her death...I don't know...maybe she was already a bit unstable???...

  • BaByGiRLpInK31 - 2012-12-08 14:58

    Aussie people that I have met seem really arrogent and disrespectful I highly doubt these people are sorry or they would have been BEFORE this poor nurse killed herself.. These are the people who wake up each morning and go to work not because they just HAVE to because they feel it's a personal calling to take care of people nurses are the most wonderful people if you meet the right ones. I really hope that next time they are in need of a nurses care they are stricken with worse grief they have ever felt.. really shame on both of them

      Ollie - 2012-12-08 20:37

      Just try read your comment back to yourself and then ask yourself who is being arrogant and disrespectful.

  • Erna - 2012-12-08 16:16

    Comeon people - we all thought it was funny before this happened. Whackhead Simpson and that Afrikaans guy (can't think of his name right now) make their living out of pranking people. I'm sure these DJs didn't even expect to be put through to the ward. The nurse is the one who handled this wrong in the first place!

      Ollie - 2012-12-08 20:34

      Prince Philip found time to joke about it before this incident, there was no serious malicious intent from the hosts and there must be something else at play I just send my condolences to the family and not start a witch hunt.

      nic.nomicos.3 - 2012-12-09 13:08

      Surely the pranksters can't be blamed for this suicide if indeed it was a result of the prank call...there maybe other reasons for her action....

  • zinzi.mjonondwana - 2012-12-08 18:20

    I think the lady is from Durban in South Afica and she has two children. she was found hanging from the front door.

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-12-08 21:03

    If you MUST play practical jokes, please don't involve unsuspecting people who can suffer because of them. Unkind and really stupid

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-12-09 00:31

    ... snots running and running. Damn people get over this story. Suicide, for whatever reason is childish, irresponsible and selfish as long as you have got at least one person on this planet who cares for you and who might be hurt by your death.

  • acsteyn - 2012-12-09 12:46

    They need to be arrested for indirect responsibility of murder and also culpable homicide and anything else any other legal mind can come up with. First Diana by the press and now the next Royal generation indirectly by the press as well. How do they think Kate feels?

  • pauline.wasowicz - 2012-12-09 17:01

    Surely this cannot be her cause of death? My goodness. Maybe she had other issues in her life besides the hoax call.

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