Most of us are saddened and in shock from the death of the nurse who was the subject of a prank call from the two Australian DJ’s, Mel Greig and Michael Christian at 2DayFM.
Most of us will have laughed hearing the prank call at the time. There’s nothing wrong with pranks or laughing at them.
However, we should look at this incident seriously; especially considering a woman has lost her life as an outcome, leaving behind a husband and 2 children. The current media reports suggest she commuted suicide and it must be very likely to be as a result of being humiliated from the prank, especially as she gave information about Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate was being treated at the King Edward VII hospital for acute morning sickness.
Now it may be argued that Jacintha Saldanha had a choice and didn’t need to commit suicide. That’s the case with most people that contemplate suicide or actually do commit suicide, some don’t have little options – e.g terminally ill patients who under extreme and horrific pain with no cure or treatment.
However, should use hindsight and think – at the time of the prank, was it likely that the nurse would be disciplined and suspended as a result of this considering the patient in involved were VIP’s? Yes. No doubt.
Would this cause be damaging to the nurses well being and affect her by causing significant stress? Yes, most likely. Especially as not only was Jacintha being tricked, she was also tricked into breaking patient confidentiality commitments.
Therefore the Australian DJ’s acted irresponsibly. Chances are, we all have played a practical joke or made a prank call in the past – but unless you have no responsibility, you wouldn’t do it if there was a strong chance somebody would lose their job. That isn’t funny. It’s malicious.
While the DJ’s will not have planned this outcome, it’s clear to see that being the subject of ridicule was a significant factor in her suicide. Imagine how stressed out she must have been? The actions of the DJ’s caused this. No doubt.
Cause & effect is a simple theory and while the prank call didn’t cause the death – it started a chain reaction leading to a person taking her own life.
Essentially – without the prank call and the exact specifics of asking highly personal and confidential details about a patient (which broke the law by impersonation to access confidential information), the nurse would not have been suspended.
The pranksters could easily have called it off after they initially fooled the nurse. They decided to take it further to ask highly personal details about Kate and her condition…
Here’s 10 facts about this story – http://www.heavy.com/news/2012/12/jacintha-saldanha-kate-middleton-prank-call-suicide-dj/
Now – take in to account their past history :
They’ve made a teenage girl admit, live on air, that she had been raped.
Previously called a journalist a ‘fat slag’ on air.
(Source and more info at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/07/2dayfm-australia-shock-jock-station )
While it the intended outcome was not planned, their past behaviour leads us to believe that the actions were malicious and were hoping to cause embarrassment and gain publicity for their show.
Action should be taken. What action? Not unintentional manslaughter in my opinion. Bullying is a possibility though. Also we know they impersonated the queen which is an offence (impersonation to get information generally is breaking the law), add to that breaking patient confidentiality ESPECIALLY taking into account that Dutchess of Cambridge was literally vomiting constantly, it’s an awful act.
Something must be done. The worst thing about this is that Jacintha Saldanha picked up the call to fill in for the absent receptionist. If the DJ’s get a slap on the wrist with a fine, what’s to stop them for trying irresponsible pranks in the future? What kind of a message does this send?
The latest from The Royal family is that they feel awful about the death. The family of Jacintha are heart broken.
Let me know your thoughts as always! Is it just an honest prank which was innocent? Or was it blatently irresponsible? What action do you think should be taken? (Tweet me)
Here’s one of a few petitions out there to get the two DJ’s off the air for good – http://www.change.org/petitions/2day-fm-radio-sydney-dismiss-mel-greig-and-michael-christian-and-all-those-involved-for-gross-misconduct