Police cuff nurse after she refuses blood test on unconscious patient
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KSL/AP) — Disturbing body camera video shows a Utah nurse being arrested for refusing to draw blood from a patient for police who had no warrant.
Alex Wubbels said she couldn’t believe what was happening.
“This is crazy. This is crazy. Why is he so angry?” she is heard on body camera video, nearly in tears, as she is being arrested by Salt Lake police detective Jeff Payne.
Wubbels was working her shift as a charge nurse, or a liaison between patients and doctors and hospital managers, at University Hospital’s Burn Unit when she was handcuffed in the middle of her work area, pulled outside and put into a police patrol car for about 20 minutes.
The incident began when a truck driver was severely burned in a head-on crash with a vehicle that was fleeing from police in Cache County and crossed into on-coming traffic. The driver of the fleeing vehicle was killed.
The truck driver was sedated and in a comatose state when he arrived at the hospital.
Payne, a veteran Salt Lake police officer, was sent to the hospital by another police agency to get vials of blood for the investigation. But because the patient was not a suspect in the crash nor faced potential criminal charges, because he was unconscious and unable to give consent, and because the officer did not have a warrant, Wubbels – one of the supervisors that night – did not allow him to draw blood.
“If they needed blood, then they needed to go through to proper channels to take it,” she said.
In the body camera video, Wubbels is seen on her phone with numerous supervisors advising them of what was happening and getting confirmation about the policy. Payne sounds impatient in the video and continues to threaten to arrest her.
But Payne insists he, too, is following orders.
“I’m doing what I’m being told by my boss, and I’m going to do what my boss says,” Payne says sternly at one point in the recording.
Wubbels can be seen trying to tell Payne to calm down while telling her boss on the phone that Payne was threatening to arrest her, and that a University of Utah police officer who was present wasn’t going to stop him.
“She’s going to jail,” Payne says in the video.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports Wubbels was not charged. Police have started an internal investigation, but Payne remains on duty.