While unlikely to wind up on the New York Times Best Seller List, the New York State Public Health Legal Manual – A Guide for Judges, Attorneys and Public Health Professionals will prove to be invaluable for those of us working for state and local health departments. Published in February 2011 in a collaboration between the the State Court system and the NYS Bar Association, it’s a guide for judges, lawyers and health professionals in large-scale emergencies like terrorist attacks, epidemics and mass contaminations.
The NY Times, in its February 14, 2011, on-line edition covered the subject matter in two separate articles: A Legal Manual for an Apocalyptic New York and Excerpts From New York’s Doomsday Legal Manual. The guide provides a discussion of existing law and gives lawyers and judges guidance in analyzing a number of critical health situations. While the subject matter may not be very comforting to the general public, it’s nice to know that a team of lawyers and judges has thoughtfully provided guidance to our policy makers.