London: The London hospital, where a prank call was made that apparently led to an Indian-origin nurse's death, today denied being contacted by the Australian radio station before they broadcast the hoax. 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha was found dead at nurses' quarters next to the private King Edward VII hospital in Marylebone, central London on Friday, after falling for the hoax.
The King Edward VII Hospital said the radio station that broadcast the hoax call did not contact senior management or its press office in advance, despite its claims it called five times.
The boss of '2Day FM' today said that staff from the station followed proper procedures and had tried at least five times to contact those involved in the prank call. "It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people (the nurses) on multiple occasions," company's chief executive Rhys Holleran said.
"We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded. Before it went to air? Absolutely, we attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions," he said. Sources from the hospital were quoted by the Daily Mail as saying they were "extremely surprised" at the statement from the station because it indicated the broadcaster was well aware of its responsibility to inform the hospital of what it had done, yet went on to broadcast the call regardless.
The hospital spokesman said: "Following the hoax call they did not speak to senior management or the company that deals with our media enquiries." "To be honest no-one here is really apportioning blame at the presenters. They are clearly kids out of their depth," a hospital source said.
"But there are serious questions to be asked of station management about why they thought it appropriate to prank call a hospital where there are extremely sick people and to broadcast what were private medical details about one of its patients," the source added. Saldanha answered the hoax call at 5.30 am on Wednesday morning, and was helping out on reception at the time of the prank.
Giggling DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were pretending to be the British Queen and Prince Charles and asked her if they could be put through to Kate. Saldanha connected them to another nurse who gave details of Kate's condition, who was suffering from acute morning sickness at the London hospital.
The Australian radio station '2Day FM' has shut down the show which made the royal hoax call. Under broadcasting rules in Australia, the permission of anyone "caught" in a radio prank must be sought before the call can be put to air.