Nurse refuses blood test on unconscious patient; gets cuffed

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah police officer's body camera video shows a hospital nurse being handcuffed after refusing to draw blood on an unconscious patient.

By Friday morning, that officer had been suspended from the Salt Lake City police department's blood draw program. 

The video taken at University Hospital in Salt Lake City shows nurse Alex Wubbels calmly explaining to Salt Lake detective Jeff Payne that she couldn't draw blood on a patient who had been injured in a car accident.

She told the officer a patient was required to give consent for a blood sample or be under arrest. Otherwise, she said police needed a warrant.

The dispute ended with Payne telling the nurse she was under arrest and physically moving her out of the hospital while she screamed.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Wubbels was not charged. Police have started an internal investigation, but Payne remains on duty.

Can't see the video? Click here: https://youtu.be/hJPVglqR4yM

The Mayor of Salt Lake City Released a lengthy statement on the incident Friday morning: 

“Like many of you, I watched the video of police officers interacting with University of Utah Medical Center nurse Alex Wubbles for the first time through the media late yesterday. What I saw is completely unacceptable to the values of my Administration and of the values of the Salt Lake City Police Department. I extend a personal apology to Ms. Wubbles for what she has been through for simply doing her job.

There is currently an Internal Affairs investigation examining the actions, and the Civilian Review Board is conducting a parallel investigation. I have reiterated to Chief Brown that I expect the highest level of professionalism and integrity from his team. I have also instructed Chief Brown to conduct a thorough review of all policies and trainings to ensure respect for all individuals, in all situations. Following the incident Salt Lake City Police Department command met with hospital administration. We immediately changed policies that may have been a factor in this encounter, and the officer’s duties have been modified.

I take these incidences very seriously. Since I took office, I have been working with Salt Lake City Police Department to increase our use of de-escalation techniques and we have had great success, and this incident is a troubling set back to those efforts. No medical professional in Salt Lake City should be hindered from performing their duties, and certainly not be fearful of the police officers they so often partner with to save lives.”

The Salt Lake City Police Chief released a statement at the same time, saying, in part, “I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. Wubbles. I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with. I want to be clear, we take this very seriously. Immediate steps were taken and within 12 hours, body cam footage was reviewed and an internal affairs investigation started. We've looked at the actions that took place, the policies that could have prevented it, and the training that must be done. Within 24 hours of this incident, Salt Lake City Police Department took steps to ensure this will never happen again."

The chief also said the officer has been suspended from the blood draw program and replaced the department's blood draw policy with a new one. 

© 2017 Associated Press


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