Saturday, December 08, 2012

Why did Jacintha Saldhana commit suicide?

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, wife and mother of two, died, apparently from suicide, after taking a hoax call from an Australian radio station. The media are in full cry after the radio jocks, but should they be looking closer to home to find the immediate cause of the tragic suicide?

Here is the Daily Mail coverage after the hoax call and before Jacintha's tragic death: How could they fall for this hoax? Hospital gives Kate's private details to Aussie DJ. Radio duo: 'We thought they'd hang up after hearing our terrible accents'

Put yourself, if you will, in the rancid trousers of a tabloid news editor as soon as the story of the prank call breaks. There are 2 women in the UK who have first hand knowledge: Jacintha, and the ward nurse who spoke to the jocks. What would you tell your reporters to do? Speak to the nurses.

It is probable that Jacintha's phone was red hot with press questions. There would be press and paps staking out her living quarters.

Correct me if you know better. I don't know. I have no information. But this is how the press works. It is a reasonable hypothesis that Jacintha was chased by tabloid reporters. And we know, post Leveson, that tabloid reporters have the ethical architecture of a non-neutered feral tomcat on drugs.

It is hugely stressful to be hunted by the press pack, especially if you are not familiar with their ways.

We need to know who contacted Jacintha, for which news paper, and what kind of approach was taken.

The other nurse involved will have some information. The hospital authorities may also know about media activity on their premises.

Problem is, this is one story in which the newspapers will not take an interest.


New Year said...

Another situation where there is a blur between moral and legal. If we would stop worrying about legal and ask the question, "Is this decision I am about to make moral and ethical, would I still do it?" we would all live happier and more peaceable lives.

HeavyLight said...

I read somewhere yesterday - maybe The Independent - that the press had no idea of the identities of the two nurses who'd spoken with the DJs.

I've been wondering whether the hospital had offered support or counselling to staff who'd likely be worried or stressed about the consequences of the confidentiality breach.

Either way the hospital managers misread the situation and failed in their duty of care for their employees.

DocRichard said...

I think tabloid journos are trained to say "Duh?" when they hear the word "Moral".
Heavy Light, if journos don't know the identities of someone, they make it their job to find out.

I agree, the managers were in error, because when they have Royals in their beds, they should know that journos will be desperate to get in one way or another.

mad madrasi said...

If everyone commits suicide because they were the target of 'pranks', our schools will be full of dead children.

Let us face the facts. The DJs pulled off a spectacular hoax. The nurse wasn't capable of being a nurse - she is the one who needed care & no one spotted it.

DocRichard said...

I think that's a bit harsh, Madrasi. Clearly Jacintha had high standards, and felt v bad about making a mistake, but there must be other factors do drive her to desperate measures. I cannot believe that journos were not badgering her, and they can be pretty heavy.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be more to this than has been revealed.For this lady to be so distressed that she took her life suggests a possible state of confusion brought on my poorly reported or undivulged factors. She took her life when the balance of her mind was disturbed.Suicide requires clear thinking.I think she was overwhelmed by everything crashing around her.