London: The bosses at King Edward VII Hospital, which recently fell victim to a hoax call from an Australian radio station regarding Duchess Kate’s acute morning sickness, have labeled the prank as ‘truly appalling’.
Lord Glenarthur, the chairman of King Edward VII Hospital, accused the radio that made the call of causing the “humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses”.
One of the nurses, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead on Friday, three days after the stunt call in which two DJs posed as the Queen and the Prince of Wales to fool her into passing the call to a colleague, who gave out details of the pregnant Duchess’ condition as she was treated for severe morning sickness.
Saldanha was working a night shift when she took a call at 5.30am on Tuesday from the two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, claiming to be from the Queen.
A recording of the prank call was vetted by lawyers before being broadcast in Sydney, and around the world on the internet.
“Prank calls as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades,” the Telegraph quoted Rhys Holleran, the chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo, as saying.
“They are not just part of one radio station, or one network or one country, they are done worldwide,” Holleran said.
His failure to apologise fully prompted an angry response from hospital chiefs already grieving Saldanha’s loss.
Lord Glenarthur also wrote a damning letter to Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of Southern Cross Austereo.
“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,” Lord Glenarthur wrote.
“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,” he wrote.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority, which regulates radio broadcasting, said that it had received many complaints about the stunt and there were calls for the presenters to be sacked.