Monday, 10 December 2012

My 2 cents on the 2 day FM prank call tragedy

Reflecting on the 2Day FM scandal and the death of a UK nurse over their prank call, I've come to realise the real terror of it all, the wrath of an global condemnation.

If you haven't heard. 2 radio hosts from 2 Day FM obtained the phone number to the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for hyperemesis (acute morning sickness, leading to dehydration), they first spoke to nurse Jacinta (who later committed suicide) and then through to another nurse who probably, inappropriately gave some information over the phone re: Kate's condition. It was nothing incriminating-It was something along the lines of, she's feeling better, sleeping on and off, being rehydrated with fluids and no longer retching. BIG DEA (insert sarcasm). As someone who looks after pregnant woman and see lots with morning sickness, this is just so standard practice. What I thought was a inappropriate was the provision of patient information over the phone, and yes, I do agree the hospital should review the protocol regarding giving information over the phone to relatives, even if it was the Queen of England. Where I work, I would never give any details over the phone. They can either speak to the patient or their partner etc. However, I can't really blame this nurse too much. You'd be pretty flustered too if you thought you were speaking to the Queen. What is unbelievable is that the radio hosts were able to pull this prank off. They sounded so fake and as far from the queen as you could possibly get.

So everyone has a good laugh about it. bla bla bla.

Then a few days ago, the nurse Jacinta who transferred the call to the nurse who gave confidential information over the phone was found dead! Sad, tragic outcome to an inappropriate, but seemingly harmless prank.

My initial reaction was to think who would kill themself over something like this? Sure, they say the Brits take their royalty seriously, but apparently there has been no significant, if any repercussion from the hospitals towards the nurses. Sure, you may get told off as you would for giving info over the phone. Yes, it was probably a bit of a media circus and we can only blame the paparazzi for it, but to kill yourself and leave your family behind? Especially all she did was transfer the call through to the nurse looking after her. I feel that there is probably other stuff going on in her life. The prank call, inappropriate as it was, may have been the final straw, but the average person would not have comitted suicide over it. However, I wasn't in her shoes and I feel for her family and friends and colleagues. May she rest in peace.

I do want to speak for the 2 radio host who was caught up in this whole shit storm. How many of us have listened to a gotcha call and laughed, cringed and then moved on. Understandably, with the announcement of Kate's pregnancy, everyone wants to get a piece of the goss. What TV show or radio show is not about getting viewership. It is basically all down to profit. I think the prank was poor form. It's just not cool to ring someone in hospital who is unwell. However, I truly believe that no malice, or sinister undercurrent existed. It was just one of a thousand prank calls, albeit this one had a tragic and unforeseeable outcome.

Ultimately, the 2 radio hosts have become the scapegoat of it all. However, let's not forget that behind them is a whole team of people who would have designed, approved and allowed the broadcast to go to air. They are equally responsible but those 2 radio hosts will forever be associated with this as they are the faces the public sees. So I see it as a inappropriate prank gone very wrong. Certainly, the actions of the radio station contributed, however I find it exceedingly unfair that the blame are directed at these 2 radio hosts alone. Perhaps we should review the procedures and protocols regarding prank calls and the provision of private information over the telephone. It is a valuable lesson learnt in a very hard way for all involved. I think those two hosts as well as all those involved in allowing the phone call to go to air will live with this solemnly for the rest of their lives. That alone, is punishment enough. Let's give them a break and not drive them to their own breakdown. Although its easy to demonise 2 people, it's a lot harder to condemn a whole nation.

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