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      RS 40:49     


§49.  Preparation and filing of death and spontaneous fetal death certificate (stillbirth)

A.  The funeral director or person acting as such shall prepare and file the certificate of death or spontaneous fetal death or stillbirth provided for in R.S. 40:47.

B.  In preparing a certificate of death or spontaneous fetal death or stillbirth, he shall:

(1)  First obtain and enter on the certificate the personal data required by the state registrar from the person best qualified to supply such data.

(2)  Except as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, if the death occurred with medical attendance, present the certificate of death to the physician last in attendance upon the deceased, who shall certify over his signature within twenty-four hours the cause of death to his best knowledge and belief; or, if the spontaneous fetal death occurred with any person in attendance, present the certificate of spontaneous fetal death to the physician, midwife, or other person in attendance at the spontaneous fetal death for the certification of the fact of spontaneous fetal death and such medical data pertaining to the spontaneous fetal death as the physician or midwife can furnish in his professional capacity.

(3)  Except as provided in Paragraph (4) of this Subsection, if the death occurred without medical attendance, or if the physician or midwife or other person last in attendance at the death or spontaneous fetal death refuses or for any reason fails to sign the certificate, immediately notify the appropriate local registrar.  The local registrar shall, prior to issuing a permit for burial, cremation, or other disposition of the body, inform the coroner, and refer the case to him for immediate investigation and certification of the information required under Paragraph (2) of this Subsection.  Provided, however, that nothing in this Section shall be construed to require an investigation, autopsy or inquest in any case where death occurred without medical attendance solely because the deceased was under treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, and under such eventualities, the death certificate may be completed on the basis of information received from persons having knowledge of the facts.

(4)  Whether the death or spontaneous fetal death occurred with or without medical attendance, if the circumstances of the case suggest that the death or spontaneous fetal death was caused by other than natural causes, the local registrar shall refer the case to the coroner or medical examiner for investigation and certification.

(5)  When death occurs more than ten days after the decedent was last treated by a physician, the case shall be referred to the coroner for investigation to determine and certify the cause of death.

(6)  When inquiry is required by the coroner, he shall determine the cause of death and shall complete and sign the medical certification within forty-eight hours after taking charge of the case.

(7)  If the cause of death cannot be determined within forty-eight hours after death, the attending physician or coroner shall give the funeral director or person acting as such notice of the reason for the delay, and final disposition of the body shall not be made until authorized by the attending physician or coroner.

(8)(a)  When a death is presumed to have occurred on a specific date and at a specific time and place within this state but the body cannot be located, a death certificate may be prepared by the state registrar upon receipt of an order of a Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction following a contradictory proceeding brought against the district attorney in the parish of the presumed place of death.  The court shall require such clear and convincing proof as it deems necessary and in accordance with the provisions of Louisiana Civil Code Articles 54, 55, and 1957 and Louisiana Code of Evidence Articles 301 through 308 and, if applicable, in further accord with R.S. 9:1441-1443.  The court's judgment shall include the finding of sufficient facts to complete the essential parts of the death certificate.

(b)  A certified copy of the petition shall accompany a certified copy of the judgment presented to the state registrar, along with a fee of ten dollars for filing and preparation of the presumptive death certificate, plus a fee of five dollars for each certified copy of the presumptive death certificate after the original document has been completed and recorded in the vital records registry.

(c)  Such a death certificate shall be clearly marked or stamped "presumptive" and shall show on its face the date of registration and shall identify the court and the date of decree.

(9)  Each spontaneous fetal death of twenty complete weeks gestation or more, calculated from the date last normal menstrual period began to the date of delivery, or a weight of three hundred fifty grams or more, which occurs in this state shall be reported within five days after delivery to the vital records registry or as otherwise directed by the state registrar.

(10)  When a dead fetus is delivered in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or his or her designated representative shall prepare and file the spontaneous fetal death (stillbirth) certificate.

(11)  When death occurs in a moving conveyance in the United States and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this state, the death shall be registered in this state and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of death.  When a death occurs on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this state, the death shall be registered in this state but the certificate shall show the actual place of death insofar as can be determined.

(12)  The medical certification shall be completed, signed, and returned to the funeral director, if applicable, within twenty-four hours after death by the physician in charge of the patient's care for the illness or condition which resulted in death, except when a coroner's inquiry is required.  In the absence of the physician or with his or her approval the certificate may be completed and signed by his or her associate physician, the chief medical officer of the institution in which death occurred, the physician who performed an autopsy upon the decedent, or the coroner, provided such individual has access to the medical history of the case, views the deceased at or after death, and death is due to natural causes.

Acts 1979, No. 776, §1; Acts 1986, No. 876, §1; Acts 1987, No. 342, §1; Acts 2006, No. 192, §1; Acts 2010, No. 547, §1.

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