Legal Update

July 17, 2008

North Star Health Collective (NSHC) works with both the Coldsnap Legal Collective and members of the National Lawyers Guild on the interface of medical and legal issues. Our intent is to create a safe environment for our community and our health care practitioners.

Information about Coldsnap http://coldsnaplegal.wordpress.com/

MN Chapter of National Lawyers Guild  http://www.nlgminnesota.org/

We need your help! If you have legal or medical expertise, please contact the Street Medic Legal Crew at northstarhealth@gmail.com for information about how to get involved.

From our meetings, we have identified the following legal issues:

1)      Concern about documenting brutality
-we are working to cross-train legal and medical observers to assist in documenting potential abuse
-we would like to have video and digital photo capacity available at clinics
-our clinic will have representatives from legal teams to help provide information to activists
-there will be a standardized form available for activists and medics to document any cases of brutality

-we will have monitoring and spokespeople available from within the medical community to assist in communicating our concerns to the media, public, and decision-makers if there is escalating violence and injuries

2)      Denying health care on basis of political membership or opposition to state or police

-we are preemptively working with some EMTs and emergency room staff to build awareness and trust between activists, community members, medics and official health care systems.

-we would like to develop a guidebook about existing community based clinics and resources to refer activists and community members
-we will have autonomous wellness and trauma clinics designed for community activists
-we will work with jail support and legal teams to facilitate getting medical services and medicines to people in jail, for example getting appropriate medical evaluations, documents for chronically ill to maintain access to their medications

3)      Legal issues concerning licensed health care practitioners or students providing health services with NSHC
-we are researching the boundaries of our scope of practice to protect our clinicians and make sure that practitioners can make informed decisions about how to safely and legally provide services
-we would like input from existing student run clinics, free clinics about how to provide services within our scope of practice. Likely, this means that a liscensed MD will need to be on premises of our clinics overseeing students etc
-we will have a training for medical and nursing students in late August about legal issues

4)   Good Samaritan Laws to cover liability for nonliscensed practitioners

-we are researching the extent that Good Samaritan Laws apply to our activist street medics
-Lawyers will provide legal “train the trainers” to North Star to understand legal issues– this needs to be scheduled, in the next 1-2 weeks

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