We were all shocked and saddened when the nurse who answered a prank call at the hospital in London where Kate Middleton was being treated for extreme morning sickness committed suicide.
But now it's being reported that the nurse had tried to kill herself two other times before the fateful call. Apparently the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, may have been a lot more fragile than anyone, even her family, realized.
The UK Daily Mail is reporting that Saldanha first tried to commit suicide last year during a trip to India. She reportedly took an overdose of pills and was rushed to a hospital but she survived. Then, nine days later, she apparently jumped from a building. She was reportedly then prescribed anti-depressants.
She was also apparently so ashamed about being caught up in the prank call, in which two Australian DJs pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles and got some sensitive information about Kate Middleton's condition out of another nurse, that she never even told her family about it, despite speaking with them on the phone.
Nor did Saldanha tell her family about the previous suicide attempts. Apparently the family thought she was in the hospital for blood pressure problems. Saldanha's brother told the Times of India:
Jacintha never wanted the family to know of the incident and we played a behind-the-scene role. Even this incident was not discussed at home for the knowledge of it would have hurt my ailing mother Carmine.
If it's anything the Newtown tragedy has taught us it's to be wary of what some of the media reports, and I couldn't trace the origins of this particular story back to any solid source that makes me believe it wholeheartedly. However, it would make sense that Saldanha had other issues going on before the prank call. It's hard to believe a woman would leave her husband and two children behind because of a silly prank no one would even remember in a couple of weeks -- unless she had added pressures. Her suicide notes allegedly talked about her treatment at the hands of the hospital where she worked.
Whether or not her suicide was a direct result of the prank, it just highlights the fact that you never know who you're dealing with when you make someone the butt of your jokes. It might be someone who thinks it's hilarious. And it might be someone who is going through a difficult time and it unintentionally spirals his or her emotions into a dark place. The DJs couldn't have known they would spark this kind of reaction. But the next time any of us wants to pull a prank, we should think carefully about what the unintended consquences might be.
Would previous suicide attempts, if they happened, help explain things?
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