Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mr. Christian and Ms. Greig and their stupid radio bit -- what's missing in this terribly sad story?

Photo obtained from the Daily Mail website.

It's probably not true that Guglielmo Marconi made the first on-air prank phone call to Alexander Graham Bell, but stupid prank calls have been part of the DJ's standard toolkit for many, many decades.

(You youngsters out there should listen to the Wolfman's telephone calls in the soundtrack next time American Graffiti is on cable. Prank calls weren't new in '62.)

So there was nothing odd or strange or malicious when a couple of Aussie DJs decided to prank call a London hospital to check up on the Duchess of Cambridge. The DJs were surprised their call got past the operator (they were doing rather bad impersonations of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles) but somehow they got through to a nurse on the floor.

That poor nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, apparently killed herself after she found out she'd been pranked.

Well, the DJs were taken off the air, and now fired, and the radio station canceled its Christmas party and has decided to donate all advertising revenues for the rest of the year to the nurse's family.

Here's my problem: Everything about this story seems so incredibly out of proportion, including in particular the nurse's apparent suicide. Why? What would drive someone to end their life because of a stupid radio bit?

And it was a stupid bit.

Personally, I think all such prank calls are stupid.

But lethal? I have a problem here.

British and Australian authorities think there may be another problem here, too. Supposedly the radio station and the hospital disagree over whether the hospital was informed, prior to the broadcast, that the hospital had been had.

The time difference alone made it impossible for the call to have been made live. After the call was recorded, the Australian station supposedly made five attempts to inform the management at London's King Edward VII Hospital about the prank call "to seek permission from Mrs. Saldanha and the other duped nurse to play the call." But the hospital not only denies granting permission, it claims that neither senior management or the company the hospital uses to field media inquiries heard anything from the station.

Somebody's fibbing. But why would anyone die because of it? Somehow I think there must be something more to this story than has been reported.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there has to be more to this story. Either she already had some big issues going on or the hospital itself took some drastic discipline actions that they now are covering up. I just can't imagine someone killing them self over this. I totally agree the DJs were wrong and Im glad they were fired. A hospital is serious business and nurses take care of sick people, they should not have to deal with this childish crap while at work.

Where I live you are given a 4 digit PIN when admitted to the hospital which you then can give ( or not) to family members. If anyone calls the hospital looking for info about you they better have that PIN number or they receive no info. Such a little thing like this could have made all that happened there impossible.

sari said...

I couldn't believe when I heard she took her own life. That seemed so out of proportion to what had happened.


The Curmudgeon said...

We'll probably never know for sure, but Anon may have hit the nail on the head: If this morning's news accounts prove accurate, the investigation may indeed be looking into the hospital's reaction to the poor nurse -- supposedly, the nurse's family didn't even know she'd been pranked before the suicide -- what the heck did the hospital do to her, or threaten to do?