Aussie royal radio prank

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Denikka - posted on 12/08/2012

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Okay..the article is...disjointed at best. but after reading through most of it, what I can gather is that a couple of DJs called into a hospital, there was some joke/prank/hoax going on about Kate and William, some sensitive information about the couple and/or Kate's pregnancy got out and the nurse who put the call through to the ward has taken her own life over the incident. Is that about right??



Okay, read a bit more. I believe this chunk about sums up what happened:



In the call at 5.30am on Tuesday impersonating the Queen, Miss Greig said: ‘Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?’

Thinking she was speaking to the Queen, the receptionist replied: ‘Oh yes, just hold on ma’am’.

She then put the presenters through to one of the nurses who was caring for the Duchess.

The nurse also believed she was speaking to the Queen and went on to make a number of deeply personal observations about Kate’s health.





If so, I'm thinking that the nurse (lady who put the call through) had a lot more issues than the story is telling. She transferred a call that ended up not being genuine. It was a stupid stunt. Not something to kill yourself over.

I don't think the DJs are to blame for her death. It was a stupid, tasteless prank. She fell for something that someone else did. And then she made the choice to brutally remove herself from her husband, children's, friends, family's, everyone's lives. Sorry.

She made a silly mistake. No one was actually hurt. The public learned a bit more than was comfortable about a member of the royal family. So what. That's the price of being a celebrity. That sort of thing happens when you're famous. You get over it. What you don't get over is a friend, mother, wife, etc killing herself.

Yes, the DJs did something stupid and tasteless. She did something much worse, much more hurtful and much longer lasting. But SHE made that choice. It wasn't like the was horrifically harassed over the incident. She wasn't even the one who TOLD the sensitive information. She just transferred a call. And for that, her children are going to finish growing up without their mother.

I can't blame the DJs for her death. . .she made her own choices.

Mary - posted on 12/11/2012

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Of course they feel guilty and are distraught over what happened. Only an emotionally devoid sociopath wouldn't. I still don't think that makes them responsible for her death, nor do I think that they should be criminally punished for this.



My 4 y/o loves to try to "trick" me or her father. She'll hide behind a door, an jump out and yell "BOO!" when we walk by. If she happened to do this and truly startle me, and I jumped back, hit my head on a shelf and died, would you think that she should be held accountable for my death? There is no denying that she would be inconsolable with guilt and grief - but should she grow up being made to believe that she was responsible for killing me?



As different as these examples seem, in both cases there was no malicious intent. In both cases, there is no way that you can argue that the tragic outcomes that ensued were foreseeable or even remotely expected. It's reasonable that the perpetrators would feel grief, remorse, and guilt over the part that their actions played in leading to said outcome. However, I do not think it fair to say that they are truly responsible, and call for them to be criminally punished. Guilt might be inevitable in these scenarios, but it wouldn't be deserved, nor should blame be placed.



This was a one-time, stupid prank. These DJ's have said repeatedly that they never expected anything more than to be hung up on. They were not targeting this women - they didn't even freaking know her! This is not comparable to someone being repeatedly and directly bullied by a classmate or colleague. There are multiple factors that contributed to this woman's choice to respond to her life situation with suicide; for pretty much any normal individual, her teeny, tiny role in this prank would not, and should not, have been the sole cause of her emotional instability and anguish.



Even if you want to suggest that this prank was the primary cause of her death, you cannot place the blame solely at the feet of these two DJ's. There are station and program managers at the radio station who approved airing this call. There are the hospital admins and managers who failed to have (standard) system in place for how to handle phone calls, patient privacy, and information sharing when dealing with public figures. And no mater what the hospital PR claims publicly, as a nurse, I am sure that both this woman and the nurse who actually gave out information were admonished for their gaffe. (If I were a betting person, I'd wager that the only reason the other nurse didn't lose her job over this was because of this woman's suicide, and all the public attention that has ensued. She would have been an easy scapegoat for the hospital had this ended differently, and the royals were justifiably pissed at the breech of privacy). Lastly, we have the (other) media outlets, which have turned this into an international incident. Had they not picked up this story and ran with it, only the people who listened to this local radio station would have even known about it. The DJ's are just the easiest target in this drama - but if there is a need to place blame and hold people accountable - they should not be the only ones found guilty.

Mary - posted on 12/11/2012

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"EXACTLY Tracey. BOTH nurses thought she was the Queen. Who wants to be responsible for hanging up on her? Or NOT giving her information? They should have a code word in place for specific faculty to know, and for the family to give in order to divulge information."



Actually, Little Miss, this is something that I have been wondering about since I first read this story. I have no idea what type of privacy laws are in place in the UK, but here in the US, these nurses would have been in true jeopardy of losing their jobs. Information is never given out over the phone to someone who calls into the hospital switchboard of even the nursing unit that a patient is on. Since their is no way to verify someone's identity over the phone, the most you can tell any caller, regardless of their relationship to the patient or position in society, is that the person they are calling about is in fact a patient in the hospital, and a one word summation of their status (i.e. stable, serious, critical). That is IT. In the case of a celebrity, public figure, or a personal request by the patient/next of kin, they are flagged in the system as confidential. When this happens, hospital staff is unable to even confirm whether or not the person in question is even a patient of the hospital.



I cannot understand how this hospital hadn't addressed this issue with it's staff the second Kate was admitted. Where I worked, if we ever had any type of public figure - be it the governor's wife, a local newscaster, or a city council person - no information is ever given over the phone. It could be the President of the United States calling, and I wouldn't even be able to confirm that the person in question was even a patient in the hospital. To do otherwise would put a hospital staff member at risk of both losing their job and facing the potential of legal action for violating HIPPA.



There is a policy in place for giving out information over the phone to one designated family member (typically a partner or parent). However, the hospital must be the one to place the call to a number given to them by that designated contact person or the patient.

Denikka - posted on 12/09/2012

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I am not saying that they are blameless Little Miss :)

What they did was stupid and childish. But what they did was next to NOTHING in comparison to what a LOT (most if not all) paparazzi do to get their pictures, get their inside stories.



Your example is...drastically off the mark though.

Their stunt did not cause her death. They did not scare her, harass her, bully her, threaten her, etc. SHE PUSHED A BUTTON. SHE TRANSFERRED A CALL. She was not the one who gave the information.

I could see putting more blame on the DJs if the woman who actually gave the information was the one who committed suicide. Because then she would be guilty of, at the very least, invading someones privacy based on their prompting.

But all this woman did was transfer a call.



Using YOUR example, that is like an aunt giving your son some money, which he then uses to buy a spider toy without her knowledge. He uses that spider toy to pull a prank and scare his sister, who falls and breaks a bone.

And then saying the aunt is the one completely responsible for your daughters injury and might as well have been the one who pushed her down the stairs.



Does not make sense to me.



She transferred a call. A call where she quite probably spent less than 10 seconds talking to the other person. If she is going to kill herself over that, there HAS to be some MAJOR!!!! instability issues going on with this woman.

Toni - posted on 12/23/2012

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The nurse had a history of mental illness.
She had attempted suicide before. this attempt just happened to be the one she was successful at.
I do not think the DJ's did anything wrong in regards to the nurse. It was a stupid prank, but they are not responsible for the nurse's mental illness.

39 Comments

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K. - posted on 01/22/2013

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I was unaware that the dj's had persuaded her to kill herself. I must have missed that part in the articles I had read on the topic. I mean hell yeah they should be punished then! If they were on the phone with this nurse coaxing her into committing suicide then that is against the law, and of course they should be punished. Thank you Little Miss for pointing it out that that was the case here. I wonder why they're not in jail yet?

Kari - posted on 12/24/2012

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"Information is never given out over the phone to someone who calls into the hospital switchboard of even the nursing unit that a patient is on. Since their is no way to verify someone's identity over the phone, the most you can tell any caller, regardless of their relationship to the patient or position in society, is that the person they are calling about is in fact a patient in the hospital, and a one word summation of their status (i.e. stable, serious, critical). That is IT. In the case of a celebrity, public figure, or a personal request by the patient/next of kin, they are flagged in the system as confidential. When this happens, hospital staff is unable to even confirm whether or not the person in question is even a patient of the hospital."

Actually, in my facility (a magnet hospital, mind you) nurses DO give information over the phone. It is different per facility. Of course, if we had a CELBRITY or a high-profile patient, things get changed, there's a restriction on the patient/information, etc....but as suggested, the hospital SHOULD HAVE spoken to their staff prior to any of this happening.

BestMomma - posted on 12/20/2012

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Little Miss - Wow...

I guess your little wtf comment is fair - it was my exact reaction to your post as well. You make absolutely no sense with your logic.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/19/2012

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BestMomma....wtf are you talking about??? Better yet, don't explain.

BestMomma - posted on 12/19/2012

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I dont think Little Miss's logic makes sense. She says...son plays prank with toy...daughter hurts herself...is it then her fault? No...it that scenario I would probably punish the son. Take it a step further...and have her decide..or CHOOSE rather, to break her other arm for whatever reason. Maybe she wants them to match. Now, is that your sons fault? No...it was her choice.

I do not think this was the DJ's fault...the death that is. Was it a dumb prank. Yes. Should they get reprimanded for the prank itself...yes. Did they cause the nurses death? No. It was her choice to take her life.

Sarah - posted on 12/18/2012

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If I walked in to a bank, pretended to be someone I'm not in order to obtain something, it would be illegal. If I suddenly turned around and said, " just kidding", I don't think it would stop the bank manager calling the police.

I love pranks, I find them hilarious, but one must be warned that if a prank has an outcome that was not predicted, it doesn't absolve blame from the prankster.

The radio station must be blamed as a whole- singling out the DJs or the producers etc is irrelevant.

However Ido believe that there is a much bigger picture to all this that will come out in later weeks.

I am sure the nurse was bullied and made fun off by other colleagues which caused her suicide. Perhaps stress at work, problems with family life, maybe we will find out the husband was having an affair. The prank was the final straw that broke the camel's back. But what will be interesting reading for the media mad British are the other straws that led too this sad end.

Tracey - posted on 12/17/2012

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RE UK medical privacy rules. As far as I know a medical person cannot discuss an adult's medical welfare with any other adult without their permission. This even goes as far as if I go to the doctor and my husband comes to collect me the receptionist is not allowed to confirm that I had an appointment or that I am in, or have left the building.
This is a private hospital which may have different rules.

Amanda - posted on 12/16/2012

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I don't think they are to blame for her death. Maybe their prank was the last straw but really we don't know what was going on in this womans life or what her mental state was to make her take the decision to end her life. Who is to say she wouldn't have done it anyway and the prank call was just bad timing??

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/16/2012

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And K.R, instead of me repeating everything for you, just go read through my posts, and you will see what I am saying.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/16/2012

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K.R, I guess you don't think bullies can persuade people to do things right?

Erna - posted on 12/16/2012

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What we really do not know..is what happened to the nurse after the news got hold of it?..did the royal house threaten to fire her from her job...did her employers get to her and threaten her with something...why would she spin so out of control, and take her life..there is more to this story...and personaly i do not think it has anything to do with the aussies...more like the total secrecy and conspiracies that go on in the Uk surrounding the royal family...look what happened to Diana....suspect suspect suspect....and lots of dark secrets....has been that way for centuries....someone threatend that nurse and the fear spun her out of control...the royals
always come out so clean and innocent....the truth is under the carpet...go find it there.

K. - posted on 12/14/2012

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Little Miss, the DJ's didn't kill her. She killed herself. What exactly would you hold them accountable for? What would the charges be? I'm curious.

Mary - posted on 12/12/2012

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But, Little Miss, what you're advocating for, in truth, is that two people be "held accountable" for another person's response to their actions. You seem to be conveniently dismissing the fact that this woman chose to end her own life, by her her own hand. She is responsible for this solitary and independent choice to respond in this manner. It was not a normal, rationale or predictable reaction to this situation; after all, the other nurse, who actually did betray personal information, did not commit suicide as well.



As I said earlier, I really have no knowledge about privacy laws and hospital protocols in the UK. However, as a healthcare professional, I am having a hard time comprehending how either of these two women didn't know better than to be suspicious of this call. No matter what actual protocols are in place at this hospital, common sense should have told both of these women to be a bit more guarded in fielding random phone calls about a public figure. Despite the sympathy I feel for Saldahna's family, the more practical part of me cannot ignore the reality that these two made an egregious error in judgement that resulted in this prank being more of sensation than it ever should have been. If you throw out the sympathy factor, the truth is that these two nurses are just as accountable for this going as far as it did by their own ineptitude. In fact, had this woman not taken her own life, I'm pretty sure that these two would have been "held accountable" for their mistakes by hospital management - and justifiably so.



To be clear, I am not of the mindset that the DJ's are totally innocent victims. They played a childish prank which both invaded the privacy of sick pregnant woman and made light of her condition simply because she is a public figure. There is no denying that this was wrong and in poor taste. What should have been a stupid, but harmless prank then evolved into the disaster that it is because many other people, including these two nurses, made an escalating series of mistakes and poor judgments. If you want "accountability" in this debacle, you can't just pick and chose who to fault - you have to distribute it to all of the involved parties, and as harsh as it sounds, that includes Saldahna herself.

[deleted account]

No Little Miss that's not what I said or what I'm reading in othe people's posts. If they ddi not violate any current laws,then we can't prosecute them. In addition, we have absolutely NO knowledge about this woman's mental state. She may have made errors inthe past that would have led her to a final warning and boom- she makes this mistake.



Still, no laws have been broken that i'm aware of. At most I could see them losing their jobs but is not up to you or I but to their employer.



It's jus tlike when that idiot Rush Limbaugh called the college girl all those filthy names. He didn't break a law. Now I'll be first in line to see him hang himself with his own rope and ok, I'd evens supply the rope but he didnt' break a law either.



As someone who has spent just over a month in a mental health facility and has recently lost her job because I'm still recovering from my breakdown, you simply cannot know what drove her to her death. It may have been something else entirely. We cannot know because sadly she is gone. When I was inpatient, I met both men and women of all ages and many had attempted suicide prior to their hospitalization. We all talked of why we were there in group therapy. I was amazed at the reasons people used to justify their suicide attempt. They were reasons that never would have occurred to me.



So what i'm saying is we simply don't know. Yes, they made a distastful and stupid prank but at the end of the day, it was the 2 nurses who made that call. I worked in a call center for a health insurance company. Yes, absolutelly if a person called and claimed to be someone famous or in power and wanted info on another person, you're damn right that I would vet that call before releasing any info.



Hell, I didn't want the $1000 fine which would have been if I'd done what she did. So I wouldn't have treated the President any, ANY different than Joe Blow off the streets. If I couldn't authenicate it, I would released ZERO info and I know I wouldn' t have gotten in any trouble. I fraankly find it really hard to believe that both of these nurses never thought to authenticate the freakin QUEEN!

Sally - posted on 12/11/2012

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Not even close. If Britain has anything similar to the US's HIPPA laws, the second nurse could have been in a lot of legal trouble, but the first did nothing wrong. It's also come out that her coworkers had been abusing her for years, but that won't sell as many papers.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/11/2012

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Sooooo...lets not hold people accountable for their actions. Gotcha.

[deleted account]

I have no idea what type of privacy laws are in place in the UK, but here in the US, these nurses would have been in true jeopardy of losing their jobs. Information is never given out over the phone to someone who calls into the hospital switchboard of even the nursing unit that a patient is on.

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Not just lose their job either in the USA under HIPAA, they can fine both the facility AND the individual worker. As I recall from my last mandatory HIPAA training, it could be a fine anywhere from $1000 and up depending on the type of info released and whether the person did it on purpose or not.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/11/2012

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I have no idea if they have Hippa laws in the UK or something similar. Can anyone from the UK shed some light on what your patient privacy laws are?



Yes I know people would not have been given that information if this happened in the US. Also, the prank callers here would have been brought up on charges most likely. Different country, different laws.



BUT, it is very clear that these DJ's feel responsible for what happened, rightly so. I saw a clip of their reaction to what happened, and they were falling apart over this. Their show has also been cancelled, and apparently all prank calls have been suspended for now.



So.....if non of you want to hold these DJ's responsible, I am glad that they themselves are holding their actions at least partly to blame for this womens death.

Rosie - posted on 12/10/2012

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no i don't think they are to blame. i feel bad for the woman, but seriously, all she did was transfer a call. this woman had to of obviously been unstable for this to affect her so much-something else mustof been going on.

people are putting this off as bullying, and i disagree. they didn't make fun of her, i bet they didn't even expect to get through to kates room. all they did was place a call and ask to be transfered to kates room. how is there any way that these people could know a death would take place? it's all overblown greatly IMO.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/10/2012

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You are right, I don't know either of their laws, but seeing the results of these comments, clearly there are very few people that feel they were in the wrong. Could they be brought up on charges of second degree murder? Or involuntary manslaughter? I have no idea. Hopefully at least they will lose their jobs out of the publics disgust and outrage. But, it seems many people don't think they should be in trouble for what they did. I personally do think they should be held accountable.



This "prank" was not meant to be funny. It was meant to exploit, and hurt. They accomplished what they wanted, and much more.

[deleted account]

WOWZA! It is shocking to me how all of you will not see these dj's should be held accountable

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What Little Miss, what law did they break? Seriously, I know zip about either Aussie or Brit laws and maybe you do. I would lik to know what law was broken.

Lakota - posted on 12/10/2012

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They are partially to blame for her death. They are disgusting, selfish people. Even before this nurse decided to kill herself, I though that about them. I know they are media people, and the person they wanted info about is in the royal family, but, at the end of the day, a woman is having her first child and she was very, very ill and because of that was hospitalized. Not funny at all. They should be held accountable in some way.

[deleted account]

I would need to know what the laws are in Great Britain in regard to medical privacy. I'm very familiar with the USA"s HIPAA which is a very detailed law protecting one's medical privacy.



I don't think the radio people should be fired and are not to blame for her death. WE will never know what went through her mind. She should have checked the phone call before transferring it to the Mrs's room. She made the error when you really get down to it. Not the pranksters.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/10/2012

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EXACTLY Tracey. BOTH nurses thought she was the Queen. Who wants to be responsible for hanging up on her? Or NOT giving her information? They should have a code word in place for specific faculty to know, and for the family to give in order to divulge information. Or something like that.

Tracey - posted on 12/10/2012

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How could this prank be viewed as funny? Lets phone up and get personal medical information about someone who is in hospital. I could understand if they wanted to make light of the original situation by doing impressions of the Queen & Charles, or even Kate on air, that would not have offended anyone.

No-one in hospital deserves to be tricked or the subject of a prank - what next whooppee cushions in the bed?

They played a trick, a nurse died and now 2 teenagers have no mother.

As for putting the call through, can you imagine the repercussions if she had hung up on the Queen?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/10/2012

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WOWZA! It is shocking to me how all of you will not see these dj's should be held accountable. Regardless of the out come, they had to have realized this prank would not end well for an employee that they tricked. I don't care if they had an underlying problem, the point was the result. The surely would know that an employee could have been suspended or even fired for giving out information to someone they thought was the queen. The point is, they didn't care. I hope their jobs are in jeopardy.



And yes Dennikka, I think my example was just fine. It was giving a different light to a situation that can cause harm due to a prank. A prank that was intended by these dj's to cause harm one way or another.

Mary - posted on 12/10/2012

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I don't think that these DJ's can, in any concrete way, be blamed for this woman's choice to end her own life. Yes, it was a silly prank, and yes, she probably felt like a fool for being so gullible as to believe that it was really the Queen on the phone. However, at the end of the day, it was still entirely her choice to take her own life.



Was this incident the straw that broke the camel's back? Perhaps - although in truth, that's something no one will ever know for sure. It's also entirely possible that this incident had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I think it is fair to assume that she must have had some preexisting and deeper issues in her life that were the root cause of her suicide. I think anyone who hears of this story will feel badly for this women and her family - and no one really wants to speak ill of the dead - but that doesn't erase the reality that she alone is in control of both her actions and reactions to situations.

Nikki - posted on 12/09/2012

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I think the issue runs deeper than if the DJ's are responsible. What about the producers and lawyers that cleared the story to air? Was it their idea or did they have scrips written by someone else? Why are their names not being dragged through the mud and accused of murder. In hindsight it was a stupid prank, but even the royals had a laugh at it before the suicide and it was directly related to them. What about the hospitals responsibility to have proper protocols for high profile patients?



Was this woman so unstable that she was planning to kill herself regardless of this prank, was it just bad timing? I think that blaming these two is unfair, they will have to carry this guilt around with them for the rest of their lives, never knowing if there actions pushed her over the edge or not. This woman had a choice, she chose to leave her children behind.



Maybe because I am an Aussie and please don't bash me.... but before the suicide, I found this hilarious, prank radio gags are pretty common over here, it's always been really light hearted and usually even those involved have a laugh at themselves.



I think as the public figures at the heart of this they have a responsibility to send their condolences but at the end of the day I still feel like she made that choice. If that was my mother I would be angry with her, angry at myself and her friends and family that no one picked up the signs.



If someone chooses to smoke all their lives and a stranger gives them their last smoke before they get cancer, who is to blame?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/09/2012

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What you are saying is...if my son puts a toy on the stairs to scare his sister, but she falls and breaks a bone....she is to blame for not seeing it on the stairs in the first place. He was playing a prank, without harmful intent....she should blame herself for not expecting the prank then. I don't like that logic. I take responsibility for my actions, and I raise my kids to do the same.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/09/2012

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Well I don't see it that way Dennikka. Your logic washes the hands of all pranks that end in bad results. Leaving the person who did the prank free of blame? i don't think so. The unknowing victim of the prank being blamed? I am not so sure that is how I want to raise my children.



If you think you are talking to the queen of England, what are you suppose to do? I mean it is totally possible for the Queen to make a phone call checking on her daughter in law who is carrying her first known grandchild. The prank was TRYING to get information, and they got it. By fooling someone into thinking they were someone they were not. And they should not be held liable? Hmmmm.

Denikka - posted on 12/09/2012

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Little Miss

I think the biggest problem I have with it, is from what I read in the article, this call went through TWO nurses. The one who committed suicide was the one who only transferred the call to the ward where Kate was staying. It was a completely different nurse who actually told the DJs anything. All this lady did was transfer a call.

I know from calling in to the hospital that when you get the switchboard, it's about a 10 second or less conversation. *Hi, could you transfer me over to here* *Yea, no problem, have a nice day*



The nurse who was really at fault for leaking the info was the one who actually had a conversation with these people. She is the one who would have repercussions coming, IF the hospital deemed that necessary.



The DJs are definitely at fault for causing a stupid and tasteless prank. But you have to know that SOMEONE was going to call in or other ways attempt to get information here. It's part of being a celeb. And especially with a royal pregnancy, the media is going to do crazy crap to get whatever info they can.

Let's face it. Kate had really bad morning sickness. Yes, whatever info may have been leaked was of a personal nature, but I really can't imagine it being much worse than *she was puking all night*, *she puked all over half a dozen nurses..total projectile* or *she has the worst shlits I've ever know of! Totally gross*



The DJs are to blame for a tasteless prank. A stupid decision. But the death of this woman? No way.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/09/2012

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Well, I smell a conspiracy. Who knows if it was really suicide in the first place.



Secondly, yes I think the DJ's need to take some responsibility for their actions. One way or another their prank ended a womens life. Regardless if she took her own life or not, it would not have happened if they did not impersonate the Queen. I don't care how fake their accents were, it made people believe it was indeed the Queen.

[deleted account]

I think I agree with you Denikka. It's awful that the nurse felt the need to kill herself, but the radio guys aren't to blame...

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