A Reader Asks Why An Immigrant Nurse (From India) Was Attending To A British Royal Pregnancy

From: An Anonymous Reader [Email him]

In the case of the nurse who killed herself after being tricked into giving information about Kate Middleton, the unaskable question is: why was a Portuguese nurse attending a member of the British royal family?

I haven't even seen her identified as Portuguese. Perhaps it would be a violation of the Race Relations Act. [Jacintha Saldanha: Duchess hospital nurse suicide note 'criticised hospital', By Gordon Rayner, and Andrew Hough, Daily Telegraph, December 13, 2012.

Mrs Saldanha, from Bristol— ie, a “Bristol Woman” in the disingenuous language of headlines.

Mrs Saldanha’s accountant husband Ben Barboza, 49, —also Portuguese.

Mr Barboza, daughter Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16,—real Bristol names.

James Fulford writes: Well, in fact,  Nurse Saldanha wasn’t Portuguese, but Indian, from an area of india that was once a Portuguese colony. The Guardian says that

“Saldanha and her family were active members of the expatriate Konkani community in the UK – people who hail from the Konkan region, which runs down the south-west coast of India.”

She trained at a medical college in Mangalore, and the reason she was working at the hospital was to provide cheap labor for Britain’s National Health system, which has been  importing foreign doctors since the 1940s to provide free health care cheaply.(And if the Royals had complained, there would have been Questions in Parliament, and probably a revolution.)

It’s very sad about the suicide, but it highlights an aspect of medical immigration that’s often overlooked—language. I’ve heard of an immigrant psychiatrist (from Pakistan) who though a patient was hallucinating because he said he had “butterflies in his stomach.”

 In the case of Nurse Saldanha, she was fooled by two Australians who said, on the phone, that they were the Queen and Prince of Wales.

There is simply no way that a native British nurse of the old school could have been fooled that way—their accents would have given them away in an instant.