"It Was Meant To Be A Silly Little Prank"

Jacintha Saldanha was an Indian Roman Catholic. She may have been a very hard-working nurse who took her job extremely seriously. She probably thought the 2Day FM presenters were who they said they were. Having respect for authority, she wouldn’t even consider putting the phone down on members of the royal family. When she discovered that she was on the receiving end of a prank that had gone viral, she probably felt shocked, humiliated and even ashamed. She may have thought she had brought shame on herself, her family and her employer. Her suicide is a response to what ever thoughts she had following the prank going viral, but I don’t think anybody should be blamed for her suicide. The 2Day FM presenters didn’t intend to cause distress to the nurses, the patient, or the patient’s family. Neither presenter foresaw her suicide. Nor did I. I doubt many people did.

The purpose of Michael Christian and Mel Greig’s prank was to entertain their audience at the expense of the royal family. “It was meant to be a silly little prank”, said Mel Greig during an interview about the prank. I believe the presenters when they say they didn’t expect to get as far as they did. A telling off from hospital staff would have made good radio, and that is what they were expecting.

A claim by 2Day FM that the station contacted the hospital several times has been disputed by the hospital. If the station was so concerned about the prank that it wanted approval from the hospital before broadcasting it, it should have waited for the hospital’s response, no matter how long it took the hospital to respond. Broadcasting the prank without the approval of the hospital implies that the hospital was only contacted because of a perceived legal obligation, as does apologising then continuing to play clips of the prank.

Hospitals generally may consider tightening security around phone calls about patients, but they need to consider the relatives and friends of patients. If a patient’s relatives or friends contact a hospital because they’re worried about the patient, they won’t want to answer a load of questions before they can be told about the patient’s conditions.

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