OpenCare Legal Evasion Guide: mortal issues for humans helping out

Table of contents

Legal tactics

Don't incorporate

If you are not a legal entity, you are obviously exempt from any authorization regime, bureaucracy requirements etc. Your scope for action is limited only by the freedom of individuals in your legal system.

On the downside, unincorporated initiatives cannot easily use some of the services that legal entity can. They canot hold a bank account, sign a contract, rent an office etc. They rely heavily on the good will of the people who believe in them to maintain coherence, even  more so than incorporated ones.

The Helliniko Community Clinic is an example of a very effective care initiative that has decided not to incorporate.

"Squat, then negotiate"

Many care projects need physical spaces, but buildings have an especially top-heavy regulatory regime in many countries. Rather than ask for authorizations, some groups find it easier to start  by illegally squatting their building of choice, then negotiating with the owner. The act of squatting creates a problem for the owner; an agreement with the squatters can be presented as the solution.

Belgium (and maybe other countries too?) has a legally attenuated contractual form for people and organisations to temporarily occupy buildings. One of its advantages: industrial spaces or office buildings can be temporarily repurposed as living quarters. Loic is an expert in this area – see here.

Logic of this document

Starting with a phrase from woodbine-health-autonomy-center  

“This practice may involve working outside the structure of licenses, certifications and insurance. “

To my understanding of OpenCare, then this is the very essence. Breaking out of ‘failed institutions’ while staying clear of trouble.

As @markomanka remind us:  …it will break…, but let’s skip the simple logical stuff to which we all agree (Being ethical correct, Good Clinical Practice, Protect privacy, Helsinki declaration, Risk assessment…) and make some foothpaths in the illogical legal jungle, mapping the traps and dangerous animals. Let’s also stick to EU continent of bureaucratic beasts.

Therefore this proposal of creating a living document to collect knowledge, references and safe practice

(My initial title suggestion:) OpenCare Legal Evasion Guide or How to keep clear of lawsuits

There is a start in the 100$ overview but I think it would be better with a dedicated collaborative document.

Draft for a table of content:

* How to get around ensurance of responsibility etc…

* Can you reproduce a patent for non profit or private use? How do you work with or around licensures/certifications to provide safe care? (from :

How do you interact with existing structures?

Can we afford to neglect this issue?

We have some expert input here: so if @marcomanca could synthesize his experiences it would be great

Other posts are also having some brilliant points that could be moved to the document.

*So some regulatory framework is needed…

This would deserve being turned into a guide sometime.

@Rune, I took the liberty of converting this challenge response into a wiki as I keep coming back to this whenever I (re)read other stories. Making a quick note for now:

There are many points already being made in OpenCare about circumventing existing system regulations. Aside those you link to there is:

Stepping outside the commercial model in a donation based informal acupuncture clinic, by @steelweaver.

Helliniko clinic without legal or taxable status - which is one of the reasons why they are not accepting donations in money.

Starting the guide

Personally I find this site/wiki is born messy and I propose turning to a google document solution

Please join in. I have already started inserting headlines and comments from @Noemi, @Woodbinehealth, @steelweaver

Disappears from the ethnography

@Noemi , transforming the node away from challenge response makes it disappear from the ethnography.

In theory it can be brought back in by assigning it to the Op3nCare Community, but when I do that I lose comments. Ideas?

Then action needs to be taken

@alberto, I understand the point perfectly. Sorry. The issue is that I have evaluated how much time (40-80 hours) I have spent in edgeryderspace, and as I see it the site needs rethinking.

  1. Its impossible to view and edit on mobile (and  It has severe accessibility problems, but thats another issue)

  2. I really get lost in conversations because obsolete comments remains.

  3. I’ve just started working with living documents and I have already esperiences of extreme effectiveness in collaborating online with google docs (hate to say they really got it right where M$ got it wrong)

The plan is to upload the content of the doc here if possible. Until then I went for a practical solution to get things done now.

What do you think?

Messiness is part of the charm

Hi Rune,

I understand your frustration with the site, when i first came to Edgeryders i found that it was rather labyrinthine and not structured towards easy comprehension. The site has undergone a number of iterations to get to where it is now and i think that we have a site that is much smoother and more aesthetically pleasing than when i joined the community a year ago.

I agree that the mobile access is a problem, and it seems there are people working in the background to solve that. My view is that when i log in on my mobile i just want to read a comment or post. I’m probably not going to sit and write a response on my phone because i prefer to think deeply about my responses and respond in depth. My view is that i don’t need to site to act as a social media platform. I want depth of field, not speed here.

I quite like that the ‘obsolete comments’ remain in the system. Every few weeks i spend a day digging through the old projects, conversations etc on the site. It helps me see how things have developed and where the issues have been. I gain a much greater understanding of the path, the battles and the ‘big picture’ when i get lost down the old blind alleys and dead ends. I think if we moved to a position where we only showed the finished product and not the working out we are giving a false impression, plus i imagine it would have negative impacts on both the ‘openness’ and the ability to analyse and extract quality data from the platform. But i wouldn’t know anything about that specifically as i’m not a computer network scientist. I’m a poet and creative producer.

I too am a big fan of the Google Docs set up. We use it to set up some of the Culture Team documents, and i think Alberto has had some successes using it for the OpenandChange application. It seems to work best for input from between 4-5 active collaborators though. I do think that it does decrease the number of people who engage with the document and there are some on ER that are disincentivised to use Google products. Where input is wanted from as many people as possible i think the messy solution on the site is still best for collecting that information from everyone.

Those are my initial thoughts on your points. The Google docs link doesn’t connect to a file so i can’t participate in the process much further right now.

I’ll try to correct the link

Thanks for letting me know @Alex Levene. I have corrected the link could you please retry?

(I think I was to quick saying nice things about google docs, I keeps giving error messages  tonight)

What are obsolete comments?

I may have missed the point… I get they are older comments, but why obsolete?

@Alberto: I assigned the wiki to both the Research group and Op3n Community group, would that work? Or do you need it to be specifically a Challenge Response content type? I thought we’re also coding parts of the content in Research - i.e. case studies we shared frugally, or conceptualizations of opencare etc…

@Alex_Levene: great comment above, sharing your personal experience while really relating to other’s. Spoken like a true peer and community manager (hint hint :slight_smile:  @johncoate would approve I think, wouldn’t you John?

Sure I would

Given the scarce resources available to create and improve this site, I think it works pretty well, though it definitely requires you to develop some new habits that are peculiar to this site, as a workaround to some of its inefficiencies.  This applies to the mobile and the desktop interfaces.  I don’t use my phone for it, but a lot of people do and the challenges of creating great and sophisticated interfaces on very small screen real estate  are substantial.  As to the “obsolete” comments, there is no reason to get rid of any of the site’s history and a lot of reason to keep it.  But to make it so this site is very smart about remembering where you are in any given conversation and taking you directly to it, that is something a smart and dedicated Drupal programmer could create and implement.  Absent the money to insure its creation, we offer encouragement to anyone who wants to take it on.

i concurr

More power to the arm of anyone who can and will make improvements.

I would also benefit from the tool allowing me to jump back into a thread at the point i left it.

I’m a strong beliver in John’s ‘omnivorous’ approach to the website. I try to read all of it (even the parts i don’t comprehend)


I hoped this could be an entry point gathering information relevant for people starting an open care initiative.  Sigh

I give up

Isn’t it an entry point for that?

Its just not the entry point, since this does not use a linear structure. Or am I misreading your intentions?

I thought about mobile access a little…

and you will generally have the problem of screen size and worse input via keyboard. On the other hand you usually have a camera on the mobile device nowadays. So the direction I would think in mobile access is the following:

- image based comments (you take a picture of a sketch + a few words and upload that instead of text), this also allows participation of e.g. illiterate people and complements the predominantly text form data.

  • try to allow for a very simple yes/no answer function.

  • another common use case will be 2-3 lines of context explanation and a link (lots of data/info possible with little input)

I would love to see hashtags integrated ( into the #platform at some point as that would allow to restructures conversations. As far as I understand we can use them already - they just don’t work yet.

i will think about your suggestion

Until i know what connectivity i will have in Ethiopia i can’t commit to anything this year.

But your hinted suggestion is noted and i’ll have a serious think about it.

challenge responses prioritised, others come later

…as evidenced by the fact that I’m coding this 2 months after the fact! I am prioritising challenge responses, so if you think things have important info in them that need to be coded sooner rather than later, designate them challenge responses. otherwise, they will (hopefully) be coded eventually, but are not a priority.


also Hi

Hi Rune, we haven’t engaged in any dicussion before, so i realised i should ‘officially’ say hello and welcome.

It’s really great that you’re keen to help develop and improve the way the ER site works for users. Definitely a positive place to be. My ignorance in all areas ‘code’ is a large stumbling block. My skills are more in the soft/event arena.

hi @Alex Levene , nice to meet you, I dont understand if your long post is a rant defending defects but I think this motivations overrules personal opinions

Future direction

Idea for discussion: OpenCare.CC could provide a ‘hub’ for triage of people seeking OpenCare solutions and who to contact