Radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, from Sydney’s 2Day FM station, rang the King Edward VII hospital in the early hours of Tuesday after the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted there with acute morning sickness.
In a tragic twist of events, the nurse who took the phone call has reportedly killed herself.
The radio station is reportedly already serving two five-year licence probations after serious breaches of the regulator’s code.
The Twitter accounts of the radio DJs have been taken down since the news of Ms. Saldanha’s death broke with many Twitter users holding the two responsible, calling for a total boycott.
The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.
The prank call which received a mixed reaction of controversy and praise went along the lines of:
Greig began the prank call by saying “Oh, hello there, could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter … I want to see how her little tummy bug is going”.
The private nurse responded: “She’s sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night, she’s been given some fluids, she’s stable at the moment’. She added; “I would suggest that any time after nine o’clock will be suitable to visit. We’ll be getting her freshened up.”
We understand that hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur wrote a letter to the head of Austereo (head of 2Day FM) but we cannot completely verify if this is true. Time will tell. The letter is as follows:
(letter to Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of 2Day FM parent company Southern Cross Austereo.)
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 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.
Then to discover that, not only had this happened, but that the call had been pre-recorded and the decision to transmit approved by your station’s management, was truly appalling.
The immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses who were simply doing their job tending to their patients.
The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is, frankly, tragic beyond words.
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.
(King Edward VII Hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur)