MSP hits out at handling of hospital inquiry into death of Peebles mum

Amanda Cox.
Amanda Cox.

Borders MSP Christine Grahame has hit out at hospital bosses investigating the tragic death of Peebles mother Amanda Cox last week over their alleged insensitivity.

Amanda, 34, bled to death in a disused stairwell after getting lost at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary a week ago today, December 10, just four days after giving birth to son Murray.

A report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal, and a fatal accident inquiry is likely to follow.

In the meantime, the hospital is conducting its own investigation into how the tragedy occurred and has asked to meet Amanada’s husband Michael, 38, but Ms Grahame is unhappy about how that probe is being handled.

Raising the issue at a general question time at the Scottish Parliament last Thursday, she urged first minister Nicola Sturgeon to seek assurances that any review will be conducted sensitively and thoroughly.

Amanda had given birth to Murray prematurely at the Borders General Hospital at Melrose on Thursday, December 6, and she and the 3lb 7oz tot were then transferred to the Edinburgh infirmary for specialist care.

However, she was reported missing after failing to return from a trip to see her son in the nearby neonatal ward and despite a search by police, was only found seven hours later seriously unwell, dying soon afterwards of a suspected haemorrhage.

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Ms Grahame said: “My thoughts are with all those who knew and loved Mrs Cox, particularly her husband and infant son, who remains in hospital.

“It is a dreadful tragedy for the family, and a small child has been left without a mother.

“I also recognise how distressing this must be for the staff on the wards who were caring for Mrs Cox.

“It must be properly investigated so answers can be given to the family and assurances made that it will never happen again.

“I understand an internal inquiry is under way, and the procurator fiscal has issued a report.

“However, I have heard from Mrs Cox’s husband Michael that the hospital administration has requested a meeting with him this week to discuss a review of processes.

“ The man is grieving and traumatised. Proposing holding such a meeting less than three days after Mrs Cox’s death is highly inappropriate and frankly looks like face-saving on the part of bosses.

“I have asked that the first minister ensures that the cabinet secretary for health and sport keeps a very close watching brief on the matter to ensure any inquiry is thorough and carried out in a manner sensitive to the family.

“I await more facts, information and understanding of what happened to come to light and will continue to offer any support I can to Mrs Cox’s family at this unimaginably difficult time.”

Ms Sturgeon assured her that health chiefs would be reminded of the need for sensitivity, adding: “It is an absolutely tragic situation.

“ Our thoughts are with all her family, particularly her husband and her little boy.

“NHS Lothian is assisting the police with the investigation into the circumstances of this tragic case.

“In addition to the police investigation, the board urgently wants to review the care that Amanda received to ensure that all appropriate lessons are learned.”

“I know that the board is in close contact with Amanda’s family to ensure that they are kept informed while the review is carried out.

“However, Christine Grahame is absolutely right to say that such contact must be handled appropriately and sensitively, given that Amanda’s husband in particular is grieving deeply at this time.

“I will communicate the concerns that Christine Grahame has raised to NHS Lothian, whose staff are also very distressed by the tragic circumstances that have unfolded, as I am sure everyone understands.

“In the meantime, I am sure that all members will want Amanda’s family to know that our thoughts are with them at this impossibly difficult time.”