How would YOU have reacted to this?

Last night on the ABC’s Q and A program, panelist and Get Up Director Simon Sheik became suddenly unwell. In the middle of the live broadcast, he slumped onto the desk in front of him and appeared to have fainted or had some kind of seizure.



We’re pleased to report that Simon is going to be absolutely fine and is apparently already working from his hospital bed (crazy bloke!) So the conversation can now turn to people’s reactions and most particularly those of the other panelists.

As you can see in the video, the reactions of the two politicians on the panel could not have been more different. Sophie Mirabella, who was seated next to Simon, looks very confused and hesitant and a bit disgusted. As if Simon had just thrown up on her shoes (he didn’t, he was unconscious). She then appears to back away in her seat. Like she might catch something.

Mirabella told The Australian online that she hadn’t realised what was happening.

“Initially I like others in the audience and on the panel, I though Simon was making a joke or laughing at Greg (Combet),” she said. “Being right next to him and having very challenging vision in my right eye, I had to turn right around. I couldn’t see him.

“Then when it became apparent there was a medical problem the crew were there to assist him and I think we were all in a bit of shock.”

Ms Mirabella said she’d got Mr Sheikh’s mobile phone number after the show and had texted him this morning wishing him well. She said critics on Twitter had jumped to the wrong conclusion.

“People will use whatever opportunity to have a go at a political with whose views they may not agree,” she said. “Some people can conveniently jump to certain assumptions. All I can say is we were all in shock when we became aware it was a medical problem.”

Today, GetUp took to Twitter defending Ms Mirabella. “Folks, please don’t criticise @SMirabellaMP it was an extraordinary circumstance and everyone was shocked,” the lobby group said.

In contrast, Greg Combet, the Climate Change Minister does a little live commentary on what was happening before boldly leaping across the stage to Simon’s aid. The other panelists watch from the sidelines.

Here in the Mamamia office, it got us talking about what we’re all like in a crisis. Are you the person who panics? Are you the concerned onlooker? Or are you the person who bounds in to save the day?

A lot of people’s hesitancy can come from not really knowing what to do. Knowing a few first aid basics could help you increase someone’s chance of survival. So to give you a little more confidence, we thought we’d revive our previous post that busts 5 common first aid myths (this post was prepared with the help of representatives from St John Ambulance Australia):

1. Fainting

The Myth: Place the patient’s head between their knees.

The reality: Fainting is the body’s way of telling you to lie down naturally.  So if someone faints, allow them to lie down. Don’t sit the person up because they can become unconscious and if their head tilts forward they can stop breathing.  St John recommends that you lay the person down on their side if they’re unconscious and then when they’re conscious turn them onto their back and raise and support their legs.

2. Burns

The Myth: Slather on butter or toothpaste or aloe vera gel.

The reality: The best first aid for burns is water and plenty of it. Do not use butter, lotions, creams or oils on a burn and don’t remove anything that is sticking to the burn. To avoid scarring and long healing times, St John recommends placing the burn part under cold running water until it returns to normal temperature, usually about 20 minutes. An acceptable improvisation on a non-stick dressing is to use cling wrap over the wound.

3.  Seizures and fits

The Myth: Place something hard between the patient’s jaws to stop them swallowing their tongue.

The reality: When someone is having a seizure it’s not actually possible for people to swallow their own tongue. The only thing you will achieve by putting fingers in their mouth is an amputated finger – or maybe a hand full of vomit. St John recommends that you let the person have their seizure in peace. Prevent intervention by well-meaning onlookers and place something under their head for protection (a jumper or jacket is ideal as it will stop any facial abrasions or head injuries).

4. People seriously injured in a car accident

The myth: Move the victim away from the scene

The reality: Don’t move unless absolutely necessary, it is potentially more damaging

People often think they should move a person out of a wreck and lay them down nicely for ambulance officer.   St John recommends NOT to move the person unless there is a danger of, for example, the car exploding which is actually very rare.

5. Choking

The myth: Carry out the Heimlich Manoeuver immediately.

The reality: Encourage the person to relax and cough. People still believe in the Heimlich maneuver, but it can cause damage.  St John recommends that you encourage the person to relax and cough in the first instance and if this is not successful at dislodging the stuck item lay the patient across your legs towards the ground and hit them hard between the shoulder blades.

NOTE: Mamamia posts do not purport to provide medical analysis or consultation.  If you have any concerns or queries please consult your doctor or if you find yourself in the company of a person who needs medical attention, call an ambulance!

Have you ever been around someone who has fainted or have you fainted in public? Did onlookers know what to do? Would you know what to do in a crisis situation like the one on Q and A last night?

nailed it

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