Did Radio DJs Kill Kate Middleton’s Nurse?

JACINTHA SALDANHA WAS SO OVERCOME BY DESPAIR, SHE TOOK HER OWN LIFE.

JACINTHA SALDANHA WAS SO OVERCOME BY DESPAIR, SHE TOOK HER OWN LIFE.

Once upon a time I was an aspiring media professional. My very first foray into the business was as summer newspaper intern with The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Near the end of my internship, I was given an assignment that haunts me to this very day.

I was told to go out to a Cleveland suburb where a shooter was reportedly spraying bullets in a residential neighborhood.

When I arrived at scene, police had cordoned off the block where the shooter – a troubled 17 year-old kid – was holed up in his house. After what seemed like hours, but probably were more like minutes, a SWAT team stormed the house.

I expected an exchange of gunfire, but there was none. Then paramedics were summoned to the house, where they removed the lifeless body of the kid, who, it turned out, had turned the gun on himself.

It shook me to my very core. Not the least because the deceased was only two years younger than I was.

But as I learned in J-school, I had to get to story; I had to interview witnesses.

So I approached the young man’s family, which had huddled behind the police cordon, along with neighbors that had been evacuated.

They were near hysterical. But, still, I asked them if they had anything to say to the newspaper.

They looked right through me. And I didn’t blame them. Because I intruded upon them at a time when they should have been left alone with their grief.

I was reminded of that experience when heard the tragic story of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who worked at King Edward VII Hospital in London, where expected mum Kate Middleton was treated this week.

Jacintha was so traumatized by a hoax played on her by two oh-so-clever Australian radio jocks – who pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles calling for Kate – that she killed herself yesterday.

My heart breaks for the deceased nurse and her family.

The tragedy confirms to me what I have learned during a media career of more than two decades: Many of those who work in print, digital, radio and television are closer to the prince of this world than to Christ.

Their God-lessness informs their approach to mass communication. If they can put something in print, or over the airwaves, that creates buzz, that attracts readers or listeners or viewers, they’re good to go with it.

Even if it causes a poor nurse so much despair, she finds her life no longer worth living.

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Comments

  1. I believe she probably already had mental health issues because this “prank” is certainly not something a mentally and emotionally healthy person would kill themselves over. Her coworkers, in an article online, said she had nervous troubles so that seems to confirm pre-existing mental health problems. I do agree with Jack…she was likely a suicide waiting to happen and this is what pushed her over the edge.

    As for the prank itself, I can think of much worse and have seen something worse online recently…namely the scaring of people in an elevator by having a small girl impersonate a ghost and suddenly appearing in the elevator with the person after a brief time when the lights go out or wheeling a coffin in with them and having a supposed dead body fall out in front of them and then suddenly come to life. This is a heart attack waiting to happen.

    This time the pranksters happened to prank the wrong person and tragic consequences are the result. I’d hope this would cure them of this kind of stuff. Regardless of what punishment comes their way, they’ll have to live the rest of their lives knowing they triggered someone to kill themselves, and that’s a major punishment itself. Wouldn’t want something like that on my heart and conscience every day.

  2. A few things come to mind here. First, the woman. I think the incident may have given her a leg up but she probably was already a suicide waiting to happen. No one wakes up and says, “Today, I think I will kill myself,” and does it. It is over a period of time.

    That doesn’t make the prank right.

    I see shows like “Just for laughs” and “Gag ito.” I think they are from Australia. Some of these pranks, in my opinion, could cause a heart attack and I wondered if they have ever been sued for such.

    My last thought is this, since we were kids we have seen cartoon characters drop anvils on the heads of other characters along with running them over with steam rollers, bashing their heads with baseball bats and on and on. So, why are we shocked when we grow up thinking that hurting others, causing pain or sorrow, is funny?

    You all might disagree, but I hate boxing for the same reason. Justify it all you will, anything that causes pain to another to entertain others is wrong. My opinion. What’s yours?

  3. the last three paragraphs says it all. What a TRAGEDY……………

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