Nurse arrested for refusing to take blood sample for police
A nurse claims she was assaulted by a Salt Lake City detective after she was arrested for refusing police orders to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
Alex Wubbels was working as a charge nurse at the University of Utah Hospital when Police Detective Jeff Payne demanded a blood sample from a truck driver who was hospitalized after a car crash on July 26, Deseret News reported.
When she refused, citing the hospital’s policy, Payne grabbed her arms, marched her out of the hospital and handcuffed her in a disturbing body camera video released during a press conference on Thursday.
Wubbels, who screamed “Stop! You’re assaulting me”, was placed in a patrol car for about 20 minutes before she was released without any charges filed against her, the Deseret News reported.
In the video, Wubbels can be seen explaining that she was not authorized to hand over the blood because the truck driver was unconscious and unable to give consent.
The nurse also stressed that the police did not have a warrant and that the truck driver was not suspected of wrongdoing in the crash.
Wubbels then called her supervisors and placed them on speakerphone while Payne said she was going to jail for interfering with a criminal investigation.
After the supervisor told Payne he was “making a huge mistake,” the detective tried to snatch Wubbels’ phone out of her hands before grabbing her, pressing her against a wall and placing her in handcuffs while she screamed, according to the video.
On Thursday, Wubbels held a press conference with her attorney Karra Porter, calling for the police to be better trained.
She said, “I’m a health care worker. 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,” she added.
Payne cited the “implied consent law” - which Porter said had changed in 2007 - and said he had been advised by the watch commander on duty to arrest Wubbels if she did not cooperate, according to the detective’s written report cited by the Salt Lake Tribune.
The truck driver William Gray was hospitalized after a pick-up truck crashed into his vehicle while fleeing from the police.
The pick-up truck driver died at the scene, while Gray remains in serious condition.