Monday, 10 December 2012

Nurse Saldanha and the Duchess of Cambridge

The death of Nurse Jacintha Saldanha after having put through a hoax ‘phone call in which enquiries were made about the health of the Duchess of Cambridge, is disturbing. I hope Jacintha’s colleague who actually divulged the information is getting any necessary support from her employers.

While there must be a sense of sadness in all of us that a dedicated nurse could feel so guilt-ridden over such an incident that she (it appears) has ended her own life, I wonder if the incident does not indicate a need for Buckingham Palace and UK hospitals to overhaul their respective protocols? While not seeking to lecture the Palace, I wonder if the Royal Aides have considered initiating a password system for use in its contact with hospitals in order to protect the Royal Family from having their privacy broken? I also wonder if hospitals could initiate a policy of not giving out information on the telephone about any patient unless it is the hospital making the call to the relative on a given contact number. Indeed, it might be asked by those who are not supporters of the Monarchy that if Jacintha has indeed taken her own life, and has done so because her action involved the Royal Family, if the incident indicates the Royal Family are seen as having a greater right to privacy than anyone else -so much so that it made Jacintha’s action seem so much more serious to her and was worthy of national and international reporting?  

Finally, it might be seen as unfair that Mel Greig and Michael Christian –whose intention was surely devoid of any malice- should carry any burden for the unforeseen outcome of their prank. Let us hope that their employers continue to give them the support they need until such time as their own emotional stress is resolved or healthily processed and managed by them.

Truly, it seems to me that blaming anyone is out of place in this incident; it is surely a learning curve for us all. In the end, errors and mistakes are surely to be responded to by learning; deliberate action alone should carry the negative connotation of ‘blame’. 


  1. So how would Fr Dickson feel if he was getting fake calls for the last sacraments at his local hospital?

    1. Thanks for commenting, although I don't see how a fake call out equates with impersonating someone in order to solicit information to which one is not entitled.

  2. A very sad situation. Perhaps the lesson to be learnt is that jests and practical jokes may cause amusement they are capable of going badly wrong. Leaving aside the fact that until very recently impersonating The Sovereign was high treason once the hoax call had been accepted as genuine then was the time for resposible journalists to say 'Gotcha' and highlight an ostensible weakness in the hospital's security. To continue the hoax and extract information about a young lady expecting her first child was highly distasteful to say the very least and gives cause for reflection, in this season, about another expectant Mother.

    Whatever the mental processes that caused another mother to, it seems, end her own life can only be guessed at but the behaviour of the journalists certainly triggered them with such a tragic result.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree that practical jokes can go badly wrong and we must be aware of that if such joking is our forte. I think all those involved have been given an opportunity to overhaul their protocols.


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