Suicide Details of Prank Call Nurse Jacintha Saldanha Are Devastating

Heartbreaking 16

More devastating details have emerged in the tragedy of Jacintha Saldanha, who committed suicide following getting caught up in a prank call made by two Australian radio DJs to pregnant Kate Middleton's hospital room.

Though it's consistently been reported that she most likely committed suicide, the coroner's report now verifies that Jacinda did kill herself. And the details are utterly tragic.

Jacinda was found three days after the prank call aired, in an apartment she stayed at near the hospital where she worked, King Edward VII Hospital in London, where the Duchess was being treated for extreme morning sickness. Her family, including her two teenage daughters and her husband, lived 120 miles away in Bristol, and she would travel back regularly to see them.

But when her husband, Ben Barboza, didn't hear from his wife one day, he called the hospital and asked a nurse to check on her. The nurse received no response from inside Jacinda's apartment, so he waited for her to return home the next day. When she didn't, Ben again called the hospital, and this time found out about her death. There are questions over why the hospital didn't inform him sooner.

Jacinda had a scarf hanging around her neck that was tied to a door frame. She also had "injuries" (which are not detailed) to her wrists. She left three suicide notes, the contents of which have not been divulged to the media.

It now seems more clear that the prank call sparked the suicide -- Jacinda's husband stopped hearing from her on Tuesday, which was the same day of the call. And the family has already said they believe the call was the cause of her suicide. But we won't know her reasons for absolute certain unless the notes are released.

It's beyond comprehension that a woman would leave her children parentless rather than deal with the fallout from a rather silly prank of which she wasn't even the one to hand out private information. Did the hospital threaten her job? Did she, as the Smiths' coo-coo frontman Morrissey seems to believe, get pressure from the royal family? Was she suffering from other issues like depression? Did her Indian background mean that she would feel extreme "shame" (as her family said) over this honest mistake? She's been described as being very religious, upstanding, and generous.

This tragedy must have producers of TV and radio shows all over the world reconsidering pranks. What is harmless fun to one person might be devastating embarrassment to another.

Why do you think the nurse killed herself?


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mommy... mommy2annaliese

Or it was made to look like a suicide...

Fenix825 Fenix825

It baffles me that people are making such a huge deal over this. She was the one who answered the phone, not even the one who gave out the details. And if she killed herself over this, she bad bigger issues than just simply putting a call through.

dirti... dirtiekittie

@fenix825 hit the nail on the head. i couldn't agree more.

nonmember avatar C

There is something more to it than the prank call. If she really killed herself following this prank call she really was sufering. This was an innocent prank that went a bit far but she didn't give out any information. And it's been reported that she wasn't even reprimanded because of the prank. So, there's something else here.

Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

Until her suicide notes are release; assuming the information is there, we will never know why she did it and I don't think it's fair to her family or her memory to make guesses at her reasoning when we didn't even know her. I feel horrible for her children and husband. I hope their healing process is quick and leaves as little emotional scarring as possible.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

C, she violated privacy laws. You are never supposed to give the status of a patient (or even confirm that a patient is in the hospital) over the phone or in person unless they know the password. Most hospitals give a word to the family so that they can call in. 

Good luck to her husband and kids while they deal with this tragic event. However, she should have never gave information. 

nonmember avatar C

Okay Pinkmani, we really don't know what went down. For all we know she is a receptionist and transfered the call automatically. The pranksters may have said something along the lines of we need to know the status of a patient. And she could have said okay let me transfer you. I worked in a hospital and there were specific departments designed specifically for answering those types of calls. She may or may not have given out information but it sounds as if the second receptionist was the one who gave out information.

Fenix825 Fenix825

Pinkmani, you said "C, she violated privacy laws. You are never supposed to give the status of a patient (or even confirm that a patient is in the hospital) over the phone or in person unless they know the password. Most hospitals give a word to the family so that they can call in."

First and foremost - she IS NOT the one who gave out the information. She is the one who picked up the phone, listened to the ridiculously fake attempt at being the queen, and then transferred the call. The fact that she even passed the call through is asenine because they were SO OBVIOUSLY fake "I want to talk to my grandaughter Kate".

This is in the UK we're talking about.  They probably don't have the exact HIPAA laws we have in the USA.  And since we're talking about the Dutchess of Cambridge here, I am sure that anyone in the royal family who wanted to get a hold of them would not call the main hospital number to reach her.

And like I said earlier, if she killed herself over this, she had a LOT more issues that were probably hidden deep down that caused her to do this.

nonmember avatar westcoastgal

I must add to the privacy discussion...there may not be the same rules everywhere about calls to and from hospitals. Our child was in the NICU at birth for over 2 weeks. We were never given a code word or anything else and we were encouraged to call anytime 24 hours a day so that if we woke in the middle of the night (during the 6 hours we weren't there) we could call and be reassured or updated on anything. This is something that is a treasured and valuable thing and something most people would never consider violating. I worry that this situation would have the potential to create overdone policies that prevent family from being able to connect and interact in difficult situations.
I work in media and have never thought these prank call stunts to be funny. It is a juvenile, childish and short term way to be popular but doesn't usually set you up for long term career success.

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