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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

World

India-origin nurse Saldanha received many hoax calls
PTI
London, September 01, 2013
First Published: 19:58 IST(1/9/2013)
Last Updated: 20:01 IST(1/9/2013)

India-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha had received a series of prank calls from an Australian radio station in the lead up to her suicide at a London hospital in December 2012, a media report said on Sunday.


Details of the prank call by DJs Mel Grieg and Michael Christian to King Edward VII hospital, where Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness, are well known but new reports indicate that a number of follow up calls had been made by the 2Day FM show.

A 'Sunday Times' investigation claims Southern Cross Austereo, the owners of the radio station, will present the inquest into Saldanha's death scheduled for September 12 and 13 with clear evidence of four follow up calls within an hour or so of the original hoax call.

The newspaper found that the hospital continued to believe there had been no further calls but allowed for the possibility that the 46-year-old senior nurse had received the calls and never disclosed them.

This could have added to her distress and ultimately triggered her decision to hang herself in her nurse's accommodation at the hospital.

"One of the calls was ended abruptly, but three others were long enough to have been a conversation. They were not made by the DJs, but members of the 'Hot30' show's production team," the 'Times' investigation claimed.

"They were not recorded, but the phone log confirms the destination number and the duration of the calls. It seems highly likely the calls were answered by Jacintha and that she never disclosed these calls to another person before she hanged herself," it claimed.

The hospital reportedly treated Saldanha and another nurse on the Duchess of Cambridge's ward who had given out details of her condition believing Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles were on the phone as "victims" of a prank and assured them of no further disciplinary action.

Mangalore-born Saldanha left behind three suicide notes and while two are described as "housekeeping" intended to get her affairs in order, the third clearly implicates the two Australian DJs: "I hold the Radio Australians Mel Greig and Michael Christian responsible for their act. Please make them pay my mortgage. I am sorry, Jacintha."  

Grieg is expected to appear at the inquest later this month and is also taking legal action against her employers.

Reports that Saldanha had been diagnosed with "depressive disorder" by Indian doctors and had made a few previous suicide attempts will also be examined during the hearing.

The hospital, meanwhile, had started a fund and raised over 10,000 pounds for Saldanha's Bristol-based family, husband Benedict Barboza, son Jonal, and her niece Lisha, who the family had adopted.

Southern Cross is in the process of setting up a trust fund to pay their pledged compensation of Australian dollar 500,000 (290,000 pounds).


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