A nurse in Salt Lake City, Utah, was violently arrested after citing hospital policy to a frustrated cop forbidding him to draw blood from an unconscious crash victim.
The University Hospital nurse told the officer that a warrant or a patient consent is needed before any blood sample could be drawn, after which she was duly and forcibly arrested.
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“I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do,” nurse Alex Wubbels explained to Detective Jeff Payne on July 26. Video of her violent arrest was released by the Salt Lake Tribune late Thursday.
Payne lost his temper when Wubbels wouldn’t comply with his demand to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient who had been the victim of an explosive car accident that occurred at the end of a high-speed police pursuit of another man.
Wubbels is seen in Payne’s bodycam footage holding a piece of paper in one hand and a cell phone in the other. On the line was a man named Brad, presumably a hospital employee or administrator, whom Wubbels wanted to hear the interaction with Payne.
Wubbels read aloud the document’s heading: “obtaining blood samples for police enforcement from patients suspected to be under the influence.”
The hospital policy forbids drawing blood from an unconscious patient, unless there is prior consent, a warrant or the patient is under arrest.
“This is something that you guys agreed to with this hospital,” the nurse told Payne. “I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do. That’s all.”
“So I take it, without those in place, I’m not going to get blood. Am I fair to surmise that?” Payne asks rhetorically.
The tension builds when from Wubbels’s phone, Brad is heard saying, “Alex, you’re not representing the University Hospital,” to which the nurse responds with her voice breaking, “I have no idea why he’s blaming me.”
“Why are you blaming the messenger, sir?” Brad asks the detective.
“She’s the one that has told me, no,” Payne answers.
“You’re making a huge mistake right now, because you’re threatening a nurse,” Brad says, and at that moment, Payne becomes fed up and reaches for Wubbels’s cellphone.
“No, we’re done, you’re under arrest,” Payne says, as he pulls the nurse’s arm behind her back, forcing her outside of the hospital.
By this point, Wubbels is screaming in pain and fear. Other hospital workers try in vain to calm the situation, telling the officer an administrator is on the way to the hospital.
“She can sit in my car while they’re coming,” the detective says.
A worker is heard saying, “This is unnecessary, man,” to which Payne responds, “You’re right.”
Wubbels has an attorney and claims Payne assaulted and illegally arrested her, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. But no complaint or lawsuit has been filed.
Payne has since been temporarily suspended from the Salt Lake City Police Department’s blood-draw program. Sgt. Brandon Shearer says an internal investigation is ongoing.
Other video footage exists, according to the Tribune. It was shown Thursday at a news conference at the office of City Attorney Karra Porter, who is representing Wubbels. The newspaper reported that other video shows Wubbels being placed in a squad car.
“It hurts to relive it,” Wubbels said at the news conference, the Tribune reported.
She claims to have never actually told Payne “no,” but only to have explained the policy.
The unconscious patient is identified as 43-year-old William Gray in Payne’s police report.
Gray was driving a semi-truck on July 26 when a suspect, fleeing Logan, Utah police in a hot pursuit, swerved and slammed his pickup truck into Gray, igniting an explosion that left Gray burned. The suspect, Marco Torres, died at the scene. Video of the collision was posted by the Tribune.
Gray remains in serious condition at University Hospital, officials told the Tribune.
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