Topic: Health

Life support baby's whānau forced to sleep in cars

By Leah Te Whata

The whānau of a baby on life support has issued a plea after being told to leave the Starship Hospital whānau room and having to sleep in their cars due to a lack of accommodation.

Three-month-old Carlo Rahui has survived two open-heart surgeries and it's the support from his whānau that's kept his mother going.

Baby Carlo’s mother, Georgina Rahui says, "I just really rely on my family it's really hard when they've been pushed away."

Rahui's whānau traveled from Taupō to be by her side and were shocked when they were told they could not stay in the whānau room at the Starship Hospital and have been forced to sleep in their cars because of the cost of accommodation.

Sister Erika Rahui shows us the van she’s slept in for the last three nights, "So in here there's a single mattress, we've had to sleep three people in here."

The whānau were told they had to leave because Carlo wasn't critical.  Carlo was born with two holes in his heart and a narrow aorta and is currently on life support.

Sister Harmony Rāhui says, "He needs his whānau support around him to get better and recover from this."

Baby Carlo’s father, Connor Monteith, has been jugging his job in Napier and traveling to Auckland in an effort to support his family financially.

He says, "It's pretty sad having people stay in their car especially when they've been supporting us, you know, that's not right."

The Napier couple also has a one-year-old daughter who was also born with a serious heart condition.

The Auckland District Health Board says the Whānau Room at Starship Hospital is a day room and is not suitable for overnight stays.  However, they say the family have been provided with a room at Ronald McDonald House.

The whānau told Te Kāea the accommodation offered was only suitable for Carlo's parents and didn't have room for extended family.

They will be sleeping in their cars until Friday but hope to find other accommodation. 

Georgina Rahui has set up a Givealittle page seeking support for her and her whānau: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/carlo-the-heart-warrior#