By Dawn Cranfield
Did Radio Station Prank Lead to Nurse’s Suicide?
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the center of the controversial royal radio station prank was found dead in what appears to be an apparent suicide. King Edward VII Hospital was already disenchanted with the Australian DJs who played the prank; but then, hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur writes that management’s decision to broadcast the prank “was truly appalling.” (cnn.com)
The pair have had mixed reviews on their hoax, with one fan writing on their Facebook page, “It is only a joke people! it was great i love it!!!”; others have said the two DJs as having “blood on your hands”. (cnn.com)
When the joke first aired, it was simply the DJs talking to the nurse as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles; according to the DJs, using the worst accents ever. They were then transferred to the room of the Duchess of Cambridge. The name of the nurse they spoke to was never released until after her body was found on Friday.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the DJs, have opted to take themselves off of the air for an undetermined period of time. Probably a good idea considering the amount of negative publicity this event has caused. The outcry grew exponentially after the hospital confirmed Saldanha’s death, leading the Coles supermarket chain to remove all its advertising from 2DayFM (the station airing the offending prank). (cnn.com)
Nobody from the Royal Palace made complaints about the phone call or about the privacy of the Duchess. I suspect the people made a much bigger deal about it than necessary; mob mentality.
Saldanha was being supported by the hospital through this difficult and challenging time by the hospital, through their own admission; so they were not blaming her for making a mistake. They did not say she was breaking any privacy laws or rules, they did not say she violated HIPAA,
and it did not appear she was going to be terminated or otherwise penalized.
Could it be she was otherwise unhappy or depressed and the stress and pressures of her life caused her to commit suicide; by nature, a very private act? Suicide is certainly not something a normally healthy otherwise completely happy individual participates in; regardless of how overtly happy they may appear.
While it is easy enough to want to blame somebody else when a loved one is gone; especially at their own hand, it simply is not fair to point at these two misguided DJs and condemn them for Saldanha’s private pain. Suicide is personal. If you think the two DJs are at fault, that is homicide; there is a world of difference.