New Yorker

Forum Regular
Jul 8, 2011
Washington DC (Georgetown) and New York City (UES)
I am a little curious to read what people think about this story.

As you guys know, Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was the nurse who was the victim of a prank call where a man and a woman from Australia impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles.

Now that she commited suicide, many people are questioning wether the two people behind the prank are responsible for her death.

What do you think?

I dont think we can hold them responsible because the prank in its nature was harmless. I have seen many pranks where people are put in very difficult positions that can lead to heart attacks or a nervous breakdown, but this particular prank was not even close to being that noxious.

I think she was already going through some time times in this was the trigger for an episode. I know she was from India and although I am no expert in Indian culture, I know the notion of honor and one's place in society are in very high regard.

I think what happened was under the category of tragic coincidence. It's like you waking uo and ss soon as you foot hit the flor you trip, fall and break your neck. Though that is incredibly unlikely, it can happen. Same thing applies to this situation. If you have to be so mindful w=of what you say then nobody will ever open their mouths because you never know when a comment might push someone over the edge.
No, I don't think that they are directly responsible because this result could not have been predicted realistically.

Tragically though, a number of lives have been ruined by this action, not least the children of the nurse and the pranksters themselves, and you have to ask, for what?

I have never been a fan of these prank shows; they often leave me uncomfortable. I prefer my humour not to involve the suffering of others.
I agree with u 100% barefootfun. I remember when I was younger I used to love these kind of pranks, but even then I knew the morality behind them was questionable. There are pranks that a reasonable person can conclude is risky, but this one I dont think anyone could have foreseen the consequences.

I remember when I was college I had this professor who would always pick on me. One day he mentioned in a playful way that he was much taller than I was. My height has always been a sore spot with me. Though I am not short (5'10). I come from a family of tall people so I have always felt a bit inedaquate. Still, if I had killed myself because of his remark, I dont think anyone could have blamed him.
Yes New Yorker. I do not believe that these DJs could have imagined the extreme feelings stirred up in this nurse and I think that the viscious backlash directed against them is disproportionate (and a little disturbing in itself).

Your own sensitivities would probably surprise anybody who did not know you well. You have two inches on me so, in my world, you are a giant :)
Barefootfun since you are from the UK, maybe u can help understand something.

What made this story spin out of control was the fact that the nurse told them information about the princess *or whatever her title is). I know here in the US u cannot under any circunstance reveal that kind of personal info about a patient to anyone, espeacilly over the phone. I am thinking the same regulations are in place in the UK.

Many people say this prank was extreme because they pretended to be the queen and who in their right mind would deny anything to the queen? I know officially the UK is a constitutional monarcht, but do you feel pretending to be from the royal familyu makes this prank worse because the nobility is above the law?
Answering as another UKer;
Our regulations are much the same as yours - I don't know the details, but broadly it's totally out of order for hospital staff to reveal any personal info unless they know they have the patient's permission, and that anyone claiming t be next if kin etc really is who they say they are.
The nobility and royal family here aren't above the law (at least in theory, I'm not saying they don't sometimes get away with things!), but I believe the Queen is - on the grounds that a criminal prosecuton here is technicallly 'Regina (that's the Queen in Latin) versus the accused', and she cannot sue herself. I don't think pretending to be the queen made it any worse than say pretending to be my grandmother if I was in hospital - in fact maybe less bad in that it was so obvoiusly a prank, even though it did go so tragically wrong.
And I agree with both of you that most pranks aren't as funny as they seem - some really are pretty harmless fun, and thee's times when someone needs taking down a peg, but most involve humiliating the victim, and often taking advantage of a third party - even f noone could have foreseen the tragic consequences of this one.
Sad though this death is, it is not the main issue.

The main issue is that these idiots dishonestly obtained information which breached medical confidentiality laws in UK. Everyone's medical history/details are entitled to the same protection under the law whether Queen or beggar. In fact in UK if I want to collect my mother from the local Medical Practice and I telephone to see if she's finished her appointment, the Practice staff cannot tell me because to do so would, inter alia, tell me that she is a patient there - it's that tight!!
As you guys know, Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was the nurse who was the victim of a prank call where a man and a woman from Australia impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles. Now that she commited suicide, [,,,]

I feel sorry for her, very much more so if this silly occasion really was a reason for her suicide.
If people can really get that upset for supposedly harming 'royalty', all the more reason to abolish these anachronistic and seriously behind-the-times remnants of less developed ages.
In as much as I think the notion of a democratic society having nobility as heads of state is atrocious, I dont think she did because of them. My mother is also a nurse and she works with a lot of nurses from India and she told me they have a very strong sense of work ethics. She probably felt devastated when she realised her professionalism was tornished in front of the whole world in a prank that was clearly a prank.

I dont like to especulate why she did because you dont have enough infor about her. But I really have a difficult time believing that this prank and its aftermath would be enough to trigger a suicidal episode.
Thanks for the link New Yorker. I do not put much fault on the prankers. If someone commits suicide for something like this they have obvious mental issues. I personally have no problems with the pranksters. I think the world needs some more humor in it. If it were not for the suicide, this prank would have gotten attention of a different kind and the world would be laughing at the fact that, "commoners" managed to do a VERY bad impersonation of the king and queen and managed to fool a nurse to reveal info like that.
The prank caller didn't even sound like the Queen - sounded like a parody impression of the Queen - maybe because the nurse was of Indian origin she didn't catch that I don't think the Queen makes such calls anyway - the Palace switchboard gets the right person on the line and then connects the Queen
Aussie DJs give emotional interview three days after Jacintha's croak

Normally I would agree with you, PiercedChest, but I believe their sincerity. I feel for the family of the woman who killed herself, don't get me wrong. I know she had kids and a husband, and I have the utmost compassion for them. However, these two are being raked through the coals over something that happened to be simple poor timing. Their careers may be over, and phone pranks everywhere may also be impacted (there are some funny ones out there.). The woman left a suicide note. My hope is that when they release the contents of it, some relief my fall upon these two. I think the hospital probably has more to do with the suicide than the prank callers themselves. I think the hospital upon discovering the call occurred, hurried to cover their asses and made an example of the woman that ended her life. She was the scapegoat while it is the hospitals policies that were the problem. I feel most for these two, and I belief them.
The whole thing was a tragedy for everyone involved, and I don't think anyone was seriously at fault. The DJs shouldn't have made the call or taken it as far as they did because medical confidentiality is a serious matter and tricking someone who is doing a vocational service job into betraying their professional ethics is not good, but it's not the first time professional entertainers have taken a joke too far and it won't be the last. I don't think this was a forseeable outcome for them.

The only comforting thing is that apparently the hospital and the royal establishment were very supportive and did the right thing in regards to handling the issue, providing comfort rather than blame. It's just sad that this wasn't enough to prevent the tragedy.

RIP Jacintha.