Australian radio prank

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If you haven’t heard yet there was recently a prank call by some Australian radio djs on some royal person, in the hospital, I forget who. Anyways shortly after it was aired a nurse involved commuted suicide. I just want to know if you guys think its the djs fault…. I think she was just way too sensitive and it p***** me off that she would leave her kids and her family for something so childish. I really honestly don’t see what she got so humiliated about anyways lol she was just crazy.

 
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Originally posted by Wraymond:

If you haven’t heard yet there was recently a prank call by some Australian radio djs on some royal person, in the hospital, I forget who. Anyways shortly after it was aired a nurse involved commuted suicide. I just want to know if you guys think its the djs fault…. I think she was just way too sensitive and it p***** me off that she would leave her kids and her family for something so childish. I really honestly don’t see what she got so humiliated about anyways lol she was just crazy.

It could have very well led to her losing her job and other actions being taken against her.

Prank calls are seemingly harmless – but many, many people have problems and they are easy to set off. Insensitive as it may be, you don’t know the repercussions that the such a prank could make. I, for one, would not want to be humiliated by the media.

 
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Does anyone know what exactly happened in that prank call?
Because from what I have read so far it seems pretty ridiculous that someone would kill himself over it.

 
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Originally posted by EPR89:

Does anyone know what exactly happened in that prank call?
Because from what I have read so far it seems pretty ridiculous that someone would kill himself over it.

You have no idea of the mental stability of a person when you play a practical joke on an innocent person – in a stressful job as it is, along with the fact that she was a mother – and use the media to humiliate them. Those Australian broadcasters abused their position in the media and deserve to be punished.

 
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Had she not choose to kill herself everything would be fine and mabe people would have a laugh about it. It was her choice to kill herself 100% so don’t try and put any blame on these djs. If she was really that sensitive than I’m sure I could have made her feel suicidal from a simple conversation. Which would be her fault not mine. They did not intend in any way to harm her and its definitely her fault for not being able to realize that.

 
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So, it was entirely her choice? She was not urged to kill herself after being pranced on radio and made a story of? Some people can’t handle stress like that, bud. Especially already with children, a stressful environment, past experiences, and mental stability.

 
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The woman at the centre of the story is Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William and one of our future queens. The original story is here.

It appears the callers got no more information from the hospital than we already knew, i.e. that the duchess is pregnant, and aside from a bout of acute morning sickness is in rude health. I wouldn’t have thought that for the nurse who took this call the incident went beyond mildly embarrassing, so it’s a complete mystery why she committed suicide. Perhaps there were other problems in her life, but that is sheer speculation. Maybe all will be revealed in due course.

As for the Australian DJs, they were really doing no more than their job, entertaining their listeners with what at the time seemed no more than a harmless prank. They had no way of knowing that their call would turn into a tragedy, I don’t think they should be blamed, and I think they have been punished enough already.

 
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Personally, I don’t see anything that would suggest a decent reason for suicide.
Unless the issue was mentioned everyday to her or something, it shouldn’t be stressful enough to make her do that.

However, would you charge the 2 DJs for manslaughter, considering it was their actions that indirectly caused this?

 
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Originally posted by Shadowhopeful:

However, would you charge the 2 DJs for manslaughter, considering it was their actions that indirectly caused this?

I can’t think of anything to justify that. They were not trying to harm her in any way and it was not apparent that they in fact did somehow… If they did.

I looked up the video on YouTube and read a few of the comments. One of them seemed very interesting to me: what if her co-workers made fun of her?

I mean, seriously. I find it hard to believe that someone would kill himself over a prank like this, even if he was going through difficult times. If her suicide was in fact related to that prank call I find it much more plausible that there was something else happening afterwards that put her over the edge.

 
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Originally posted by rwbstripes:

So, it was entirely her choice? She was not urged to kill herself after being pranced on radio and made a story of? Some people can’t handle stress like that, bud. Especially already with children, a stressful environment, past experiences, and mental stability.

Yes. It was entirely her choice. People being forced to commit suicide is a very rare occurrence.

 
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However, would you charge the 2 DJs for manslaughter, considering it was their actions that indirectly caused this?

No, of course not. There was no attempt nor any intention to cause harm, nothing malicious at all. It was just a bit of fun which had unforeseen consequences. I’m sure the DJs feel as upset as anyone about this.

 
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They pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles, in order to get information on the status of Princess Kate, who was in hospital with severe morning sickness (it does become life-threatening after a point). This information is held under doctor/patient confidence with only the closest relatives being privvy to it. Anything else is seen as a breach of data protection law and the patient’s right to privacy.

The nurse gave them the information believing they were who they claimed to be, as those persons had the right to know. These DJs did not have the right to know, and certainly did not have the right to publish this information.

So, as I see it they can (and should) be convicted for identity theft, conspiracy to defraud, violation of data protection, unauthorised publication of sensitive data. As I understand it, they have so far been dismissed from their positions with the station.

The nurse was not under any threat of being fired – the hospital were willing to give her all the support they could, but she was already depressed, and this pushed her too far. Don’t forget, the British don’t in general see the royal family like we do the president. To a lot of them, the royal family is something to be proud of and to protect. In the nurse’s eyes she was probably a traitor to the crown, and that last push was what destroyed her.

One change that is likely to come from this, is the NHS will put in place new provisions to verify the identy of family members before information is given out. Very likely this will take the form of us not being allowed to give patient information over the phone to family members any more – information to be given in person only.

 
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Wow, vika….that’s some very salient points ya bring up.
I wonder if any of that was in the minds of the DJ’s?
Hopefully NOT.
Likely not.
Still.

And, here in the U.S., we take such patient privacy very, VERY serious. HIPAA assigns some very serious punishments for what that nurse did. Here, even while waiting in line at the pharmacy//clinic….a measured distance from the counter must be observed by those waiting to be served while another person is at the counter to ensure a specific level of privacy for that person being served.

I agree w/ beauval that they very likely do NOW feel quite “upset” for any involvement (NOT “responsibility”) in that woman’s death.

I agree that they had NO INTENTION to cause harm or even be malicious at all. But, just because harm isn’t INTENDED doesn’t mean that harm can’t result.

HOWEVER, I find myself somewhat at odds w/ his notion that the DJ’s were (merely?) being entertaining. It’s that “bit of fun w/ unforeseen consequences” that is the sticking point. We all should use this incident as a reminder that some very serious repercussions can result from even the most “innocent” of intentions. Perhaps, such will give us pause when first we consider something foolhardy. If ya fuck up yerself….(sortta?) OKAY. Doing so to some “innocent bystander”….NOT so kool, fool.

There has to be a (fuzzy?) line which shouldn’t be crossed merely for the sake of “entertainment”. Point in case: comedians who make fun of ppl (usually celebrities of various sorts) for things those ppl have no control over…physical features, etc. I lost a lot of respect for Jay Leno for the way he vilified Janet Reno merely because she is a big woman. I was repulsed by how low comedians needed to stoop to find a “hook” on which to skewer Gov. Chris Christie merely because he is obese. Do these comedians not realize they are also INSULTING the vast number of ppl who are also obese? Sure, Christie is mostly at fault himself for his weight issues. BUT, obesity is a top three “disease” in America. So, it’s not like he is a pathetic exception to be ridiculed.

NOW, as vika brings up, there were certain “illegal actions” on the parts of those DJ’s (as well as of the nurse) that can land the DJ’s in some pretty “hot legal water”. On the issue of the DJ’s standing trial for “manslaughter”: Pretty unlikely…even for “manslaughter by gross negligence” (there are different “forms” of manslaughter).

However, there is always CIVIL COURT. And, since the radio station likely has plenty of money (& insurance), it likely won’t be all that hard to find a solicitor to make a civil case for her family. I expect as much w/ an out-of-court settlement.

There is a line from a favorite movie of mine that I keep close.
“I was involved but not responsible.”
All I see that as is an attempt to soften complicity to the level that one might be able to assuage their conscience by having escaped the level of legal entanglement. Of course, there is willingly & unwillingly involvement….keep that in mind.

Bottom line: The legal complicity of the DJ’s in the death of the woman is extremely tenuous. But, in civil court, even a spark is enough where money is involved…there very well can be a case made. If for no other reason than it would be much easier for the radio station to simply pay to settle than to have the negative publicity of a tried case & the legal fees involved….even though they could win it.

 
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I agree that they had NO INTENTION to cause harm or even be malicious at all. But, just because harm isn’t INTENDED doesn’t mean that harm can’t result.

I was addressing the manslaughter question here. I think we have to realistic enough to recognise that these sorts of incidents happen all the time. Unforeseen consequences are a part of life. If any other member of staff at that hospital had taken the call, the whole matter would probably have been passed off as a joke in slightly dubious taste and forgotten within days. They just happened to speak to the wrong person at the wrong time, and tragedy resulted. But those DJs were just doing their job – entertaining and seeing how far they could push the boundaries. The consequences here were tragic, but as prank calls go it wasn’t in the same league as “this infamous incident”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Russell_Brand_Show_prank_telephone_calls_row which was intended to cause hurt and embarrassment from the start. Ross was an experienced broadcaster who should have known better, and I believe being one of the BBC’s biggest names was the only thing which saved him from being sacked outright. The controller of radio fell on her sword almost immediately, and rightly so. She had failed in her duty to keep a close watch on what two notoriously loose cannons were getting up to together.

I don’t see these two DJs as being particularly culpable here, but as you say, the radio station is a different matter. Allowing people like that a free hand is almost guaranteed to result in them acting like a pair of three year olds, and the radio station should have kept them on a tighter leash. I see you have already got right to the point – how much the family can sue for. I just hope they have the decency to wait until after the poor woman has been buried before they start asking the same question. Wouldn’t the most important issue here be to find out what steps broadcasters are going to take to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again?

 
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OP does not comprehend suicidal and/or depressed people in the slightest. That nurse was already very depressed and suicidal, and something as embarrassing like this… of course it’ll cause her to do it if no-one comforts her.

 
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Originally posted by JaumeBG:

OP does not comprehend suicidal and/or depressed people in the slightest. That nurse was already very depressed and suicidal, and something as embarrassing like this… of course it’ll cause her to do it if no-one comforts her.

Precisely this. The OP is very insensitive (and perhaps inexperienced in such matters) when it comes to thinking of other peoples’ stress and emotions.

 
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Originally posted by JaumeBG:

OP does not comprehend suicidal and/or depressed people in the slightest. That nurse was already very depressed and suicidal, and something as embarrassing like this… of course it’ll cause her to do it if no-one comforts her.

Citation needed.

 
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International trauma psychologist Paul Stevenson said what started as an innocent prank was fuelled by the media in the UK.

“We just don’t know what situation this young woman was in the week that led up to this tragedy,” he said.

“She may have had personal problems in her life, she may have had some recent reason to be depressed or upset and all of a sudden something happens like this and it tips her over the edge.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-08/radio-station-suspends-ads-amid-royal-prank-backlash/4416636

Mental health groups said it was important to reach out to people who were depressed or distressed because the tragedy might stir suicidal feelings.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/8057945/Royal-prank-call-DJs-want-to-talk

 
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Did anyone else think the suicide, at first, was a prank made by the Brits to get back at the host or just me?

 
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Originally posted by JaumeBG:
International trauma psychologist Paul Stevenson said what started as an innocent prank was fuelled by the media in the UK.

“We just don’t know what situation this young woman was in the week that led up to this tragedy,” he said.

“She may have had personal problems in her life, she may have had some recent reason to be depressed or upset and all of a sudden something happens like this and it tips her over the edge.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-08/radio-station-suspends-ads-amid-royal-prank-backlash/4416636

Mental health groups said it was important to reach out to people who were depressed or distressed because the tragedy might stir suicidal feelings.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/8057945/Royal-prank-call-DJs-want-to-talk

That is speculation. You stated it as fact.

 
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There is no way you can know this as a fact… because she didn’t say it herself. But the way she acted and psychologists’ as well as family’s reasonings does lead me to believe it as that.

 
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prank calls can be far darker than that.

 
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Bottom line it is her fault for ending her life. Sure she might have felt more suicidal from this prank which really didn’t seem humiliating at all anyways (You can listen to it on youtub) but ultimately she killed herself and that’s the true fact. I have been through some fairly harsh mental abuse in my teens and if I had chose to end my life over it that would have been my fault. Even if I felt it was ___ fault. I honestly am just angry towards the women for ending her life and leaving her family over this. Just think of the harm she did to her family. That is if it was even over this prank. Which if it wasn’t than the djs are blame free still.

 
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First off, beauval….I admire & respect you & your input to this forum far too much for this post to be seen in any form as a “challenge” to your positions. I’m merely tossing out crap as responses that might expand the parameters of discussion.

I want to make it clear that most of this post is NOT NECESSARILY my opinions. Rather, it is things that likely are on the minds of others who have heard about the incident. I’m merely contributing points that might have some form of relevancy on the issue.

MY position on it is: I know far too little of it specifically to be able to make any real merit of a “judgement” on it. I’m ONLY making very GENERALIZED assessments…based upon pretty much just personal observations in my life.

Originally posted by beauval:

I agree that they had NO INTENTION to cause harm or even be malicious at all. But, just because harm isn’t INTENDED doesn’t mean that harm can’t result.

I was addressing the manslaughter question here.

I personally don’t think the action meets even the “entry level” of manslaughter. But, I’m not a lawyer, I haven’t spoken to one about the incident, I haven’t done research into the laws governing the two countries, I don’t have any where enough data to deign to think I can make a reasonable judgement of the magnitude of legal liability….moral “liability”, maybe.

I think we have to realistic enough to recognise that these sorts of incidents happen all the time.

Absolutely.
AND, we need to remember that frequency doesn’t necessarily equate to being “okay”. Of course, there are many, MANY shades of gray on what constitutes the values assigned to values of “incidents” & “okay”.

Unforeseen consequences are a part of life.

Absolutely.
So are responsibilities for said consequences…in all manners & degrees, a part of life.
This is why we have laws, liability insurance, bonding, church confessionals, etc.

If any other member of staff at that hospital had taken the call, the whole matter would probably have been passed off as a joke in slightly dubious taste and forgotten within days.

Absolutely.
Agreed.
BUT, that’s not what happened. The reality of it must be dealt with. The “ordinaryness” of the expected//intended results is completely understandable…even if arguably dubiously in poor taste. And, mostly, there aren’t laws for “poor tastes”. But, as you & I agree…this prank’s outcome obviously crossed some kind of threshold.

The merit of involvement of what actions and the responsibilities assigned is quite muddled. I don’t even want to venture to make a credible assessment of that. All I can offer is an opinion on the various parts of the parameters involved.

They just happened to speak to the wrong person at the wrong time, and tragedy resulted.

For me, this does establish the concept I bring up about: involved but not responsible. They the DJ’s are “involved” is obvious. The degree of responsibility (if any at all) is the interesting point being discussed.

But those DJs were just doing their job – entertaining and seeing how far they could push the boundaries.

And, therein lies the rub. Did they push the boundaries TOO FAR?. If so, how much too far? Even if that could be ascertained, what degree of responsibility (if any at all) could be assigned and what degree of punishment would be apropos?

The consequences here were tragic, but as prank calls go it wasn’t in the same league as “this infamous incident”:“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Russell_Brand_Show_prank_telephone_calls_row” rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Russell_Brand_Show_prank_telephone_calls_row which was intended to cause hurt and embarrassment from the start. Ross was an experienced broadcaster who should have known better, and I believe being one of the BBC’s biggest names was the only thing which saved him from being sacked outright. The controller of radio fell on her sword almost immediately, and rightly so. She had failed in her duty to keep a close watch on what two notoriously loose cannons were getting up to together.

All of those incidents seem to be well within the usual course of human events.

I don’t have the time to look it up (well..maybe a little), but Orsen Well’s broadcast did cause widespread panic resulting in quite a lot of damage
Please drop down to “Aftermath” for some info that very likely should be considered very relevant to the issue at hand.

I don’t see these two DJs as being particularly culpable here, but as you say, the radio station is a different matter. Allowing people like that a free hand is almost guaranteed to result in them acting like a pair of three year olds, and the radio station should have kept them on a tighter leash. I see you have already got right to the point – how much the family can sue for.

Yup. In law, it’s seen as the party who has the higher degree of responsibility for outcome of actions…greater capacity to know such things. I pretty much comes down to: if ya play w/ fire, don’t be surprised if ya get burned. Some of my enterprises are of a nature that I cover my ass w/ some really comprehensive insurances, disclaimers, etc.

I just hope they have the decency to wait until after the poor woman has been buried before they start asking the same question

Yes. I hope all factions in this tragedy can forego PUBLIC exposure to what machinations are afoot. I do hope the govt. & professional org (if one) & radio station owner(s) are already at work on assessing the whole issue(s) pertinent.

Wouldn’t the most important issue here be to find out what steps broadcasters are going to take to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again?

Absolutely.
But, as ya so succinctly point out…. regardless of the tastelessness of the programs,,,adding in the facts of “freedom of speech” (still controlled by the FCC quite heavily),,,and the whole “for profit” thing—I don’t expect much to change. Yeah, maybe in the short term….but, long term, back to business as usual. Sometimes picked up to even higher levels due to the results of the “test” in that there was little (to none?) fallout from it. As ya said: pushing the boundaries. When such is done, quite often, new ones are established. Is this good…bad? Very often: BOTH. We certainly can’t—and shouldn’t—stop this inevitability. It’s what propels us towards greater beneficial discoveries….even though sometimes we pay a high price in tragedy for such advancements. My take on all of it is that the negativity of this incident (regardless of who is to “blame”) is something that is a part of life and hopefully we will not sweep it under the carpet in an attempt to ameliorate irresponsible behavior so that we can better conduct our lives in a rational, compassionate manner.