Passing the Buckingham Palace on Nurse Jacintha

There’s something people don’t seem to understand about the controversy over two Australian radio dee-jays who called the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital, posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.  The nurse who took her own life, Jacintha Saldanha, took the original phone call and passed it on to the ward where Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness.

Jacintha apparently never divulged any private medical information; it seems to have been the other nurse.  Something is very wrong here.  The radio deejays, Mel Greig, the young lady who voiced the Queen, and Michael Christian have been fired from their show.

Why should Saldanha have taken her life for directing a phone call?  Either she had other serious problems that have not been divulged – and what kind of hospital doesn’t notice that one of their nurses is having emotional problems?  Or she was given a dressing down by her employer, possibly even having been given notice of her job.

The hospital denies it.  But since we’re talking about princes and princesses, we should note that this is not a fairy tale.  Reprimanding an employee for a mistake is an accepted (and notorious) business practice.  If the poor nurse hadn’t been reprimanded it would be remarkable and the hospital should change its name to the St. George VII Hospital.

That’s not the way the real world works, though.  Management, in general, is quite unforgiving about mistakes.  Most managers do not think it sufficient to simply give you the verbal warning, but to add various levels of dramatics to get the point, everything from finger-pointing to cabinet-bashing.  The idea is to make you feel like the lowest of the low.  You usually come out feeling like you want to jump off the roof of the building, especially if you’ve been given your notice.  At one company I worked at, an employee did exactly that.

Some employees don’t go quietly into that good unemployment night; they come back with guns and settle their hash with the supervisor.   The rest of the employees are sent to anger management classes, but it seems like supervisors never are.  One boss started at yelling at me about something and I finally told him that he had the right to reprimand me, put the offense in my file, even report me to Human Resources, but not to abuse me verbally.  He agreed.

It’s not hard to imagine that the hospital would take the revelation of a Royal’s private medical information as an extremely serious breach of hospital protocol.  An interview with the other nurse, the one who actually gave out the rather innocuous information, would be extremely interesting, if unlikely.  Companies have rules about revealing proprietary information and trashing their reputations.  You can be fired for it, even sued.

If it isn’t bad enough that Nurse Jacintha is dead and the deejays are out of work, but the Duchess has had a recurrence of the acute morning sickness.  According to the UK Telegraph, Kate has “taken a turn for the worse.”  That may be a rather sensationalist headline, one that will not help Jacintha’s children and family, the hapless deejays, or Princess Kate herself, already enduring stress in her pregnancy.

Jacintha is dead, the deejays, no matter how many times they’ve apologized for what was a fairly innocent prank, have been sacked, and Kate’s doctors will have a job bringing her baby(ies) to term, King Edward VII Hospital can fly its flag proudly in “protecting” the Royal Family.

What would King Edward VII (Queen Elizabeth’s father), who died at relatively early age from stress, suffered from a stammer and was said to have been bullied by his nanny, say about this incident involving his great-granddaughter-in-law and his future great-great grandchild(ren)?  Would he really blame a couple of rather foolish deejays or have the nurses dressed down to the point that one committed suicide?  Or would he have placed the blame on an overbearing hospital management?

Before this goes any further (the next step could be the Duchess miscarrying due to stress and unjustified guilt), the hospital management should own up to its own harsh failure.  Anger Management Sessions – they’re not just for employees anymore.

Published in: on December 10, 2012 at 10:57 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

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