A shocking video has emerged of the arrest of a hospital nurse in Salt Lake City after she refused to allow a detective to draw blood from a patient without a warrant. The Utah nurse Alex Wubbels was dragged away and arrested by police for refusing to allow Detective Jeff Payne to retrieve a blood sample from an injured patient.
Wubbel's patient had reportedly been critically wounded in a vehicle crash when another driver collided into his truck on July 26. According to The Deseret News, the patient was admitted to the hospital in a comatose state, sustaining severe burns.
Payne reportedly lacked a search warrant and was not legally allowed to get the patient's blood and arrest him. Wubbels' refusal to comply with Payne's demand was in line with the law that blood samples cannot be extracted without the expressed and explicit consent of an individual. In this case, retrieving an unconscious patient's blood sample is not only unethical, it also violates constitutional law.
This fact was apparently lost on Payne who can be heard in the video saying that he planned to arrest Wubbels if she did not cooperate. "I've never gone this far," Payne said, according to footage of the encounter.
According to the reported video, Payne went as far as threatening Wubbels with jail if she refused to allow him to gain the blood sample. Wubbels could be seen consulting with a few hospital officials while patiently explaining the policy to Payne and at one point, Wubbels brought her supervisor on the phone in order to explain the same policy to Payne once more. The supervisor reportedly told Payne, "Sir, you are making a huge mistake because you are threatening a nurse."
Within seconds, the detective could be seen lunging forward to grab Wubbels, who attempted to step back, alarmed and confused. As Payne accused Wubbels of obstructing an investigation, the nurse could be heard screaming, "Help! Help me! Stop! You're assaulting me!" The sobbing nurse was then taken away to the police vehicle.
Wubbels was not criminally charged, but the nurse shared her views on the explosive incident at a press conference on Thursday. She described her state as "betrayed," "angry," and "confused" and also expressed the need for the local police to be more thoughtful and considerate toward hospital workers who are obligated to follow law and protect their patients. At this moment, according to spokesman Brandon Shearer for Salt Lake police, Payne is on active duty but has been suspended from the police's blood unit.
In spite of the disturbing incident, the nurse continued to support her stance, according to a strong statement she gave to The Deseret News. "The only job I have is to keep my patients safe. A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly," Wubbels said.