Ant infestation at Auckland’s children hospital forces sick baby to move twice

An ant infestation at an Auckland children’s hospital has forced a mother and her sick 4-month-old son to move rooms twice.

Alysha Hukatai and baby Noah Hukatai-Pare fled two rooms at Kidz First Children’s Hospital after she found ants crawling on the ceiling, the walls, the bed and even across her arm.

“The last thing any parent wants is to have to worry about ants crawling along where you are meant to sleep, or possibly crawling towards where your sick child is,” Hukatai said.

After being shifted out of their first hospital room because of ants, Hukatai said she found more than 20 ants marching along the windowsill of their second room before she asked to move to another block.

Counties Manukau Health confirmed the family of a patient in Kidz First had raised concerns about ants in a hospital room. “Patient comfort and care is of utmost importance to Counties Manukau Health and we immediately accommodated the family’s request for a room change,” a health spokesperson said.

Noah Hukatai-Pare has been in hospital care for the past month after suffering a brain infection and he was moved from Starship Hospital to Kidz First, which is located at Middlemore Hospital, on Wednesday.

Once he was settled into his room on level two of Kidz First Children’s Hospital, Hukatai said she noticed one or two ants crawling along the wall so she squashed them and didn’t think much of it.

The next day she saw more ants on the opposite wall and then even more crawling across the roof, above the bed.

“After I saw them on the ceiling I knew there was a problem,” Hukatai said. She informed the nurse and a cleaner was sent in to clear the room of ants.

However, the ants marched on.

“I saw about 10 more and got fed up. I asked to move rooms and said I didn’t want to be in there anymore. That’s just way too many ants,” Hukatai said.

They were relocated to the room next door after it was deemed to be ant-free, but yesterday Hukatai found an ant crawling across her arm and then more on the bed.

She said she notified hospital staff again and overheard a cleaner asking a nurse: “What am I supposed to do about the ants?”

“When I talked to the nurses they said it’s been happening for years. Around the windowsills they’ve put tape on it to stop the problem,” Hukatai told the Herald.

“Surely someone needs to do something about it.”

Hukatai asked to be moved again and was relocated to another hospital block late last night.

She said she would lodge a formal complaint with the hospital before Noah was released.

A Counties Manuka Health spokesperson said facilities and maintenance staff “will take appropriate action to address the issue”.

“We have ongoing systems in place to deal with such issues and there are reviewed regularly,” the spokesperson said.