Suicide of the duchess’ nurse: Should people be accorded dignity because they are human?

8 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi is pondering the meaning of the human condition and has the question what is human and humane when dealing with a fellow traveler on life’s road. This rumination was prompted by the suicide of one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s nurses after the woman was “punked” by two Australian DJs. Most likely there were also other underlying issues which may have contributed to the nurse being vulnerable to the loss of dignity and potentially a loss of employment due to the prank. Here is the story as told by Ellie Krupnick and Jessica Misener in the Huffington Post article, Kate Middleton’s Hospital Nurse Found Dead In London Days After Being Duped By Prank Callers:

The hospital nurse who put through a prank call to Kate Middleton’s private nurse earlier this week has been found dead in a suspected suicide, the Daily Mail reports.

Jacintha Saldanha was found unconscious on Friday morning nearby King Edward VII Hospital in London, where she worked. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that the police were called and an ambulance arrived, but the woman was declared dead at the scene.

The Daily Mail speculates that “one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.” A rep for Scotland Yard only stated, “The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”

“It is with deep sadness as I can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha,” said John Lofthouse, chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement. “Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for over four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues. We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. Jacintha was a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and her friends. Thank you.”

One can only speculate that whatever advantage the DJs received was probably a temporary bump in ratings and that there will have to be other stunts more and more outrageous to sustain any ratings advantage. The question is at what cost to the person or person(s) who are “punked” next time?

This is the RCN’s definition of dignity:

Dignity is concerned with how people feel, think and behave in relation to the worth or value of themselves and others. To treat someone with dignity is to treat them as being of worth, in a way that is respectful of them as valued individuals.

Moi is probably on safe territory stating the concept of dignity of the human person was probably not uppermost in the minds of the Australian DJs.

Good Character.Com has a curriculum for K-12 students, many adults would be enriched by reviewing the lessons. Given the current society, many adults probably think the character lessons are for wusses or other losers, but here they are:


Treating people with respect makes your world a nicer place to live in, whether it’s at home, at school, or out in your community. And it’s easy – all you have to do is treat people the way you like to have them treat you. Here are a few ideas.

Don’t insult people or make fun of them.
• Listen to others when they speak.
• Value other people’s opinions.
• Be considerate of people’s likes and dislikes.
• Don’t mock or tease people.
• Don’t talk about people behind their backs.
• Be sensitive to other people’s feelings.
• Don’t pressure someone to do something he or she doesn’t want to do.

We live in a diverse nation made up of many different cultures, languages, races, and backgrounds. That kind of variety can make all our lives a lot more fun and interesting, but only if we get along with each other. And to do that we have to respect each other. In addition to the list above, here are some ways we can respect people who are different from us.

Try to learn something from the other person.
• Never stereotype people.
• Show interest and appreciation for other people’s cultures and backgrounds.
• Don’t go along with prejudices and racist attitudes.

Not only would the world be a better and more livable place if our fellow humans treated others more humanely, but one poor nurse might have lived long enough to deal with her other demons.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                     Dr.

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