The Case of the Missing Death Certificate


Below I have posted a copy of the formal announcement of Sathya Sai Baba’s death. It was published widely in India on the very day of his demise, April 24, 2011. To my knowledge, it is the only official document issued by the Sathya Sai Baba Organisation announcing the ‘physical leaving of the body’ of their Chairman, Sathya Sai Baba. It also is the sole source as to the cause of death. The letter bears the signature of Dr. Safaya, the director of the Super Specialty Hospital where Sai Baba was treated and kept on life support during his last weeks on earth. The good doctor has since handed in his resignation.

NDTV, a large Indian Broadcasting Company, put this document up on their website that same day. It elicited the following comment by a trained Indian physician:

Soumitra Mukhopadhyaya NDTV 24-04-2011

(…) As a doctor I should point out that the cause of death mentioned (cardio-respiratory failure) is medico-legally unacceptable. The cause leading to cardio-respiratory failure needs to be clearly mentioned. The international death certificate does not accept cardio-respiratory failure as a valid cause of death (…)

Not producing a death certificate is in strict violation of Andrha Pradesh State regulation, Indian law, and international rule.

For more background information, look here or here, for instance.