Utah — Shocking video shows a nurse being forcibly arrested for simply following a hospital policy that forbids police officers to draw blood from people who are unconscious.
Alex Wubbels is the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit. On July 26, an off-duty cop involved in a head-on collision was rushed to the hospital and treated for severe injuries.
Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne then arrived on the scene and demanded to draw a blood sample from the injured man, allegedly at the behest of another police department roughly 90 miles north.
Payne’s body camera footage shows what unfolds as Wubbels patiently explains why his request cannot be accommodated. The footage begins as Wubbels reads from the hospital’s policy:
It says obtaining blood samples for police enforcement for patients suspected to be under the influence–okay? this is something that you guys agreed to with this hospital–the three things that allow us to do that are if you have an electronic warrant; patient consent; or patient under arrest…the patient can’t consent, he’s told me repeatedly that he doesn’t have a warrant, and the patient is not under arrest. So, I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do. That’s all.
Apparently not aware of the hospital’s policy–or the agreement in place with police departments–is audibly agitated upon hearing the news. He says, “So I take it, without those in place, I’m not going to get blood. Am I fair to surmise that?”
Wubbels demurs–she never says “No”–and then consults with a hospital official on speakerphone. That official asks Payne: Why are you blaming the messenger, sir? Payne responds: “She’s the one that has told me ‘No’.”
The official then tells Payne, “Yeah, but, sir, you’re making a huge mistake right now. Like, you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”
That’s enough for Payne, who then snaps and says, “Okay, we’re done. We’re done,” his voice rising angrily as he tries to snatch the phone out of Wubbels’ hands, “You’re under arrest. We’re going.”
Wubbels swings away to avoid Payne’s initial phone-grabbing attempt and then backs up fearfully. She says, “You can’t put me under arrest,” but Payne does exactly that.
As Payne twists her arms around and cuffs her, Wubbels screams, “Help! Help! Somebody help me! Stop! Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong!”
Wubbels was never charged over the incident and Detective Payne was eventually taken off the Salt Lake Police Department’s blood-draw program, but remains on the force.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
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