King Edward V11 hospital
How could a hoax telephone call cause the death of Mrs Saidanha, a well respected nurse at London's King Edward V11 hospital?
The answer isn't known, but what is known is that Mrs Saidanha took her work very seriously and she was extremely proud to work in the hospital which caters for the British royals.
It appears Mrs Saidanha came to Britain nine years ago and was the mother of two daughters. The hoaxers appeared on Australian television yesterday, weeping and wailing about their plight. The stupid pair know full well they acted irresponsibly and, as happens far too often today, never for one minute considered the consequences of their 'joke'. "We didn't think we'd get through to Kate," uttered the male DJ. That's the problem - they didn't think. Their television interview appeared to me to be a plea for their jobs.
Apart from the tragedy of Mrs Saidanha's death, the incident has shown failings within the private hospital.
- Why did Mrs Saidanha answer the telephone?
- Was there no duty telephonist on during the night hours?
- If Mrs Saidanha was the first point of contact for any telephone callers had she been trained in dealing with enquiries?
The two DJs were quick to say they expected their false accents to be immediately obvious, but they never considered a person with English as a second or even third language may answer the call. Very probably Mrs Saidanha was unaware their accent was anything other than a variety of the English accent.
When discussing this with a retired senior nurse yesterday her point of blame - apart from the juvenile behaviour of the DJs - lies with the King Edward V11 hospital. All NHS hospitals are aware of the procedures to protect patient confidentiality. Why do such procedures not apply to the private medical sector?
My sympathy lies with Mrs Saidanha. She worked and lived away from her home and children in order to provide for her family. By all accounts she was a quiet, dedicate nurse and mother who possibly felt an overwhelming sense of shame at her inability to detect fools. She was so humiliated she was unable to speak to any of her family about her distress.
The Australian radio station must also share blame for Mrs Saidanha's death because they employ people who think such 'jokes' would be 'fun'.
What type of society have we become when people think that telephoning a hospital, in the middle of the night, and posing as a patient's relative is 'fun'? That is apart from the fact they recorded the call without the receiver's permission and with the intention of publicising it throughout the world.