Whangarei MP Shane Reti helps resuscitate opera fan

By Mikaela Collins -
3 comments
This photo of Carol Peters and Whangarei MP Shane Reti was taken 45 minutes before Mr Reti helped to resuscitate Ms Peters who had collapsed because of the heat. Photo/Supplied
This photo of Carol Peters and Whangarei MP Shane Reti was taken 45 minutes before Mr Reti helped to resuscitate Ms Peters who had collapsed because of the heat. Photo/Supplied

The first thing Carol Peters remembers after collapsing at the opera is being surrounded by faces.

One of them was Whangarei doctor and MP Shane Reti saying "are you alright Carol, stay with me."

Ms Peters was attending Saturday's Opera in the Garden at ASB Stadium with friends and her husband Tim Howard when she collapsed about 3.45pm.

The One Double Five Community House and Tai Tokerau Community Law co-ordinator had been feeling "chirpy" earlier in the afternoon but said it was very muggy and she felt hot.

"I remember I said 'I think I'm going to faint' and then I saw Shane Reti's face and evidently a lot had gone on before that.

"Shane was saying 'are you alright, just stay with me Carol, just stay with me'."

Mr Reti, who spent 17 years in general practice in Whangarei before being elected as Whangarei's MP, was one of about three or four people, including another doctor and a nurse, who helped to resuscitate Ms Peters and stabilise her before the ambulance arrived.

"I'm up the front with other guests and about 30 minutes into the first half one of the organisers comes down from the stage and said 'okay doc, you're on duty again, come with me'," he said.

Mr Reti and Ms Peters have known each other for about 20 years and had been chatting only 45 minutes before she collapsed.

A nurse, who Mr Reti said was named Jane, had placed Ms Peters in the recovery position before he arrived and another man, who Mr Reti presumed was a doctor, had a defibrillator in his car which they had on standby.

Mr Reti said Ms Peters was in and out of consciousness.

To resuscitate her, Mr Reti cleared her airways as she had vomited, and her breathing was irregular.

Mr Reti tilted her jaw back and made sure she was tipped to the side. He also checked her pulse and continued asking her questions.

Another person elevated her legs to maintain her blood pressure, and wet cloths and ice packs were also placed on Ms Peters to cool her down.

"She was in a poor state. Our sense was it probably was heatstroke because it was a very hot afternoon.

"But you just can't tell, especially when they have been unconscious. You've got to be thinking about everything so I was very grateful for the nurse and the other doc in the audience," Mr Reti said.

In the meantime the show had paused.

Ms Peters was taken to hospital by ambulance and discharged about 7pm that night after blood tests and X-rays confirmed nothing more serious was going on.

"I had various people who phoned me that night and in the morning and described it. My friends were all around me and they were very worried."

Ms Peters said she had been in "exceptional hands".

"I had a lot of medical attention.

"The hospital staff were really good. The ambulance drivers were fabulous."

Ms Peters emailed Mr Reti to say thank you, but the long-time community advocate joked her gratitude toward the National MP wasn't going to extend to changing the way she votes.

"Probably not, definitely not," she said.

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