Public health officials, attorneys, policy-makers and advocates have reached out to the Network with requests for legal assistance. Below are some of these requests and the responses given by Network attorneys. To protect privacy, names are not included in the examples. In addition, the Network will not share an example if a requestor asks for his or her request to be withheld.
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What tools does the law provide to protect the public's health when pets and other animals could be carriers of Ebola virus?
The Network was contacted by a public health official in Arizona about the legal authority that state (or local) government has to abate public health nuisances, specifically related to potential breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitoes. In Arizona, health authorities can order the removal or destruction of a public health nuisance in two primary ways, and specific abatement powers and processes may be altered pursuant to formal declarations of emergency or public health emergency.
The Network was contacted recently by a requestor who wanted more general information about Zika as well as information about emergency legal preparedness around a possible U.S. outbreak of the virus. The Network is working in real-time on these specific issues and was able to provide several helpful resources.
The Network was contacted by the director of a local health department in Arizona who asked for information, including model policies, regarding isolation and quarantine procedures. The Network provided the requestor with a number of resources, both general and specific to Arizona.
The Network was contacted for guidance on the legal and health concerns related to unaccompanied children in emergency situations. With some exceptions, under normal circumstances health care workers (HCWs) must obtain consent from parents or legal guardians in order to provide treatment to minors. However, in an emergency situation, minors may become separated from their parents or legal guardians, or health facilities may become overwhelmed and lack the resources to obtain proper consent.
Aid workers exposed to the Ebola virus have returned to the United States from West Africa, prompting questions about the enforcement of quarantines.
The Network was recently contacted by a requestor with two questions regarding response to a recent outbreak of meningitis at Princeton University. Learn more about this request and see the Network's response.
The Network received a request on the varied implications that declarations of a public health emergency may have on regulations in different states and localities.
The Network received a request from a local health official working on emergency preparedness issues. The official was developing plans to utilize Closed Points of Distribution (Closed PODS) during emergencies.
A requestor asked the Network to help identify any existing research or resources on liability issues for hospitals that engage in emergency response efforts.