Police and hospital staff launched a frantic search for Amanda Cox and appealed for public help after the 34-year-old was reported missing from the Royal Infirmary in Little France on Monday evening wearing just a T-shirt, pyjama trousers and slippers.
The last confirmed sighting of Amanda, from Peebles, was at 3pm on Monday.
The new mum – who gave birth to her baby boy four days earlier – was found seven hours later, alive but fighting for her life, in a rarely used staircase within the hospital after suffering a suspected massive haemorrhage. She died a short time later despite attempts to save her.
Amanda is understood to have been a patient on ward 210 or 211 – both specialist maternity units – after giving birth. Her son is believed to have been admitted to the special care baby unit – the Simpson Neonatal Unit for babies born prematurely or sick – downstairs from the maternity wards, having been born five days prematurely.
Amanda was found at around 10pm on Monday night in a stairwell leading to a locked door to the roof above ward 209 by police trawling CCTV – on the opposite side of the hospital block.
A source said: “It’s thought she might have got lost trying to find her way back to her ward thinking 209 was next to 210 or 211. Nurses on her ward might’ve thought she was with her baby and those on the specialist care unit might’ve thought she was on her ward – it’s a tragic set of events.”
A police source said: “There was nothing that would suggest this is anything other than the tragic death of a new mother who had recently given birth.
“She was found within the hospital and obviously there will be aspects of the investigation that will look into the seven hours she was unaccounted for.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We can confirm that missing woman Amanda Cox was discovered collapsed within the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary around 10pm and passed away a short time later.
“The death is being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious, and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Amanda’s family and friends at this time.”
A full post mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death and a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the circumstances of the death and the details of the search may be ordered by the Crown Office.
Amanda’s partner Michael Cox was being supported by family last night.
A family friend said:”Amanda had been suffering headaches even before she had been in hospital for the birth and was due to see a specialist.
“Apparently she was going back to her room for medication but took a wrong turning and came out of the neonatal ward into a disused ward.
“They think it was a brain haemorrhage or a stroke or heart attack but we will just have to wait on the post mortem.”
The source added:“After transferring from Borders General Hospital baby Murray seems to be doing okay although he was just 3lb 7 ounces when born.”
Hospital bosses offered their condolences to Amanda’s family and said staff will be helping police with their investigations.
Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Lothian, said: “My thoughts and sympathies are with the family of Amanda Cox at this sad time. A police investigation is ongoing and we are assisting with their inquiries.”