Sophie Mirabella, an Australian MP, came under a barrage of criticism on social networks today after she just sat and stared blankly when a man collapsed beside her on live TV.
When Simon Sheikh slumped forward, banging his head on a desk with a loud thump, Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella sat back in her seat and stared at the unconscious man as crew members rushed to his aid.
Simon Sheikh, representing a community group, and Sophie Mirabella were part of a panel of experts on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation network discussing the newly imposed carbon tax.
Simon Sheikh had earlier shown difficulty joining in the discussion with other panelists appearing confused by his muddled answers.
Then, as the discussion continued, he suddenly slumped forward, banging his head – and Sophie Mirabella, and who was sitting immediately to his left jerked back in her seat away from him.
Moments earlier, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet had given a confused look in Simon Sheikh’s direction, commenting : “I’m not sure what Simon’s doing there. Is he OK? I think… he’ s not OK. Simon is not OK.”
Greg Combet and members of the show’s crew rushed to the slumped man’s assistance – as Sophie Mirabella recoiled.
Today, after it was learned that Simon Sheikh had fainted because he was recovering from a severe bout of the flu, it was Sophie Mirabella’s reaction which had social media fluttering with criticism.
“Oh and if I’m ever in need of first aid I really hope the first person on the scene isn’t Sophie Mirabella,” tweeted columnist Joe Hildebrand.
Even while the show was continuing viewers sent in messages that appeared on the bottom of the screen.
“Watching Simon Sheikh passing out is horrible. But worse is seeing Sophie Mirabella recoil in horror, rather than help,” wrote one viewer.
Another viewer commented: “Disgusted at Sophie Mirabella’s reaction. No thought of helping someone in need.”
A spokeswoman for Sophie Mirabella said later that the MP had been in shock, like others on the panel: “She was unaware it was a medical emergency at the time and has since contacted him to wish him a speedy recovery.”