A nurse in Utah was forcibly arrested after she refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient, screaming “I’ve done nothing wrong” as an officer dragged her out of a hospital.
Nurse Alex Wubbels alleges she was assaulted and illegally arrested by officer Payne for following a hospital policy that does not allow blood draws from unconscious patients.
Video footage of the interaction between nurse Wubbels, 41, and Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne on July 26 at University Hospital in Salt Lake City shows the nurse calmly explaining to the detective that blood cannot be taken without a warrant from an unconscious patient unless he or she consents or that individual has been arrested.
Detective Payne was insisting that nurse Wubbels allowed him draw a blood sample from a patient in the burn unit who had been injured in a July 26 collision in northern Utah that left another driver dead.
Wubbels responded that blood cannot be taken from an unconscious patient unless the patient is under arrest, there is a warrant allowing the draw or the patient consents. The detective acknowledges that none of those requirements is in place but insists he has the authority to obtain the draw, according to the footage.
Nurse Alex Wubbels told Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne “The three things that allow us to do that are if you have electronic warrant, patient consent or patient under arrest…”
“This is something that you guys agreed to with this hospital,” Wubbels says while showing Payne the policy in writing. “The three things that allow us to do that are if you have electronic warrant, patient consent or patient under arrest … and neither of those things … the patient can’t consent, he 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.”
The video of the interaction then cuts to Wubbels holding a phone, as a man’s voice warns that a “huge mistake” is being made by threatening a nurse. That sets off Payne, who then places Wubbels in handcuffs and leads her out of the hospital as the woman shrieks in agony.
Payne charges after Wubbels “OK, no, we’re done, we’re done — you’re under arrest,” Payne says. “We’re going, we’re done, we’re done, I said we’re done!”
At one point, Payne says, “She’s going to jail,” if he doesn’t get the sample. After Wubbels consults with several hospital officials and repeats the policy.“OK, no, we’re done, we’re done — you’re under arrest,” Payne says. “We’re going, we’re done, we’re done, I said we’re done!”
An exasperated Payne chases after the uncompromising nurse tells her she is under arrest and grabs her, pulling her arms behind her back and handcuffing her. The footage shows the detective dragging her out of the hospital and putting her inside a patrol car as she screams.
“You can’t put me under arrest, this is not OK,” Wubbels protests while backpedaling before being led out of the hospital. “Somebody help me. Stop! You’re assaulting me, stop! Stop — I’ve done nothing wrong!”
Two hospital officials then try to intervene, but Payne warns them not to interfere or they will be arrested as well.
“I’m leaving now — with her — anybody who wants to prevent that, that’s your option,” Payne says. “So, take your hand off her, please.”
Payne then leads Wubbels to a waiting police vehicle as the woman claims the officer is hurting her.
“Then walk!” the officer responds.
“What is going on?” Wubbels tearfully asks another employee at the hospital.
Payne is determined to chasten nurse Alex Wubbels as he goes after her at full speed
Det.Payne places Wubbels in handcuffs
Parts of the footage were shown Thursday during a news conference held by attorney Karra Porter, who is representing Wubbels, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Wubbels, who was not charged, told the newspaper that she’s watched the footage about five times.
“It hurts to relive it,” she said.
Salt Lake City police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said the department started an internal investigation, which is ongoing, in response to the incident. Payne was temporarily suspended from the department’s blood-draw program — where officers are trained as phlebotomists so they can get blood samples — but remains on duty, Shearer said. The department also has held training for the officers in the program, he said. In a written report, Payne said he was responding to a request from another police department to get the blood sample, to determine if the patient had any chemical substances in his system at the time of the crash. Payne explained the “exigent circumstances and implied consent law” to Wubbels, but she said “her policy won’t allow me to obtain the blood sample without a warrant,” his report says.
Det. Jeff Payne looks menacing after stashing Wubbels in police cruiser. He was advised by the watch commander on duty that night to arrest the ‘uncooperative’ nurse for interfering with a police investigation if she refused to let him get the sample, Payne claimed
Payne said he was advised by the watch commander on duty on July 26, to arrest Wobbles for interfering with a police investigation if she refused to let him get the sample.
Porter said her client’s main concern is to prevent a recurrence of what happened to her. There have been discussions of the matter with Salt Lake City Police Department about educating officers, but Porter said but no claim or lawsuit had been filed.
Wubbels said she had watched the footage four or five times and “it hurts to relive it.”
She never said “no” when Payne asked to take a blood sample, but merely explained the blood draw policy to him. She was trying to keep her patient safe and do things the right way.
Logan police had requested the blood sample, according to what was said on the footage. Porter stressed that the unconscious patient was always considered the victim in the crash.
Nurse Alex Wubbels is marched off the hospital floor by Det. Jeff Payne
Payne’s partner reels off Wubbels’ offenses she had been dragged from the hospital floor into the police cruiser
Hospital officials, meanwhile, said they supported Wubbels’ actions.
“She followed procedures and protocols in this matter and was acting in her patient’s best interest”.
“We have worked with our law enforcement partners on this issue to ensure an appropriate process for moving forward.“
No notice of claim or lawsuit had been filed as of Thursday, but Porter had discussions with the department, which will provide better training to its officers, she said.
Payne, meanwhile, has been suspended from the department’s blood-draw program, but remains on duty as an investigation is conducted, Salt Lake City police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said.
The claimant and her attorney declined to give any information on the patient. However, according to the police incident report, he is identified as 43-year-old truck driver, William Gray, who is also a reserve officer in the Rigby, Idaho, police department, who suffered burns following a July 26 crash in Cache County.
Gray’s semi was hit north on State Road 89/91 near Sardine Canyon when a man fleeing from the Utah Highway Patrol crashed a pickup truck head-on into him, Logan police said.
The ensuing explosion set Gray was on fire.. The driver of the pickup truck, Marcos Torres, 26, died at the scene. Police have said Torres was fleeing from the UHP after other drivers reported him driving recklessly. On Thursday, Gray reportedly was in serious condition at University Hospital.