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Could Simple Technology Have Saved Hoaxed Nurse & Is Brit Media Also To Blame?

By David Richards | Saturday | 08/12/2012

Could simple technology have prevented the death of British nurse Jacintha Saldanha and are the British media as much to blame for her death as 2DayFM radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian?

The King Edward VII Hospital in London has treated British Royalty in the past, so one would expect a reasonable degree of security to be implemented after the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted as a patent.

Not just physical security patrolling the hospital grounds but security that allowed the hospital to identify a phone number and where an inbound call was coming from.

Both at the switchboard where 46 year old Jacintha Saldanha, a mother-of-two, was working and on the ward where the Duchess was recovering there should have been a means by which the security minders and the hospital were able to identify any inbound calls.

Most modern phone systems along with a new generation of VoIP enabled phones, which many hospitals have installed in an effort to cut costs, deliver intelligence on inbound calls.

Security experts know that intelligence is critical to criminals and often with high profile targets they establish a means by which they can monitor inbound calls to a location such as the King Edward VII Hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated.

A call from Australia should have alerted both the security team and the hospital that something was wrong as the call was not a local call.

When 2DayFM radio host Michael Christian made his now famous call to the hospital, he and his on air partner Mel Greig pretended to be members of the Royal family.

It was a prank that has gone horribly wrong.

But are they the reason for the death of Jacintha Saldanha the receptionist who answered their call and transferred it to the ward where the Duchess was being treated.

When the prank was put to air the British Media got hold of the story, it was front page tabloid fodder. The story took off as publications like the Sun, Daily Mail, and Daily Mirror and radio stations made a big issue of the prank.

This massive publicity for what was a prank at this stage is what created the embarrassing pressure on the receptionist who took the prank call.

Why did the British media go to such lengths to beat up the story?

Maybe it goes back to rivalry between the Australian and the British Media, who in the past have hacked mobile phones, and lied as to who they are when trying to get information.

I know because I worked on two of the publications that are now baying for the heads of the   2DayFM radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

I remember on one occasion being given a white coat by my editor and told to visit a London hospital where I had to pretend to be a doctor so that I and a photographer could try and get an interview with Elizabeth Taylor.

The original idea by the team at 2DayFM was to try to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge herself, despite the fact that she was in hospital suffering from severe pregnancy sickness. Christian told listeners: "We've been handed a phone number and we have been told that this phone number is the hospital where Kate Middleton is currently staying.

"We thought we'd give it a call. We don't want to cause any trouble; we don't want to stress her out because she is doing it tough. But I reckon we could maybe get her on the radio tonight."

He told his co-presenter, Mel Greig, that she would have to pretend to be the Queen and he would be the Prince of Wales. "This is awesome!" Greig replied.

Also to blame are the people who love to follow this type of stunt delivering for radio stations, TV current affairs shows and tabloid newspaper massive audience and circulation lifts.

This is the junk news, junkies who feed off the stunts and images that media organisations dish out in an effort to titillate the imagination of an audience who every day feed off the lowest of low news.

But when it all goes wrong they are the ones who suddenly go from being the audience to the critics.

2DayFM radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian should not be singled out to take the entire blame for the suicide death of Jacintha Saldanha, so should the British Media who gouged on the stunt because it got an audience for their publications and media outlets.

The hospital and the security people protecting the Duchess of Cornwall are also to blame in that they did not use simple technology to identify incoming calls.

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