You may have already seen the video. It’s circulating quite heavily on social media. It contains police body camera footage of a Utah-based nurse who was arrested simply for doing her job. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, the way in which she was manhandled by the arresting officer makes the matter even more infuriating. We’re not sure where to begin with how wrong we feel the officer’s actions were. But, perhaps we should take a look at what initiated the incident.
The video begins with the nurse – Alex Wubbles, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit – on the phone with her supervisor. She’s attempting to ascertain whether or not she is permitted to allow a detective – Jeff Payne – to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
Wubbles shows Payne a written agreement between Salt Lake City police and her hospital. It indicates that there are only three circumstances by which the police may legally request blood from an unconscious patient. They are as follows:
1. If there is an electronic warrant. 2. If there is patient consent. 3. If the patient is under arrest.
Wubbles calmly and professionally informs Detective Payne that his request could not be fulfilled as it met none of the above mentioned criteria. Very shortly thereafter, things got out of control. Wubbles’ supervisor can actually be heard on the phone telling the detective that he was making a “huge mistake” by threatening a nurse. Payne didn’t seem to like that. “We’re done!” he exclaimed as he attempted to reach for the phone.
Wubbles is then shown being grabbed, dragged out of the hospital and put in handcuffs – all while she is screaming in fear. Quite frankly, the entire episode is unconscionable. The Allegiant Experts team proudly has many friends who are nurses. And, as you can imagine, they are all pretty upset about this story. Simply put, Wubbles was arrested – quite aggressively, we might add – simply for doing her job.
The incident took place on July 26th. According to ModernNurse.com, the Salt Lake Tribune has reported that an internal investigation is currently being conducted by the police department. “Wubbels was right,” the site clarifies, “The U.S. Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that blood can only be drawn from drivers for probable cause, with a warrant.”
And while Wubbels was not charged with a crime, she is considering legal action against the police department for their violent mishandling of the situation. “I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things,” she is quoted as saying, “And I’m still confused.”
The site goes on to point out a few details of the traffic incident that sparked the entire request for blood in the first place. Police were chasing a suspect in a pickup truck along a local highway. The pickup swerved and went head-on into oncoming traffic, smashing directly into a much larger truck. The suspect died in the crash and the innocent truck driver was rushed to hospital with severe burns.
The truck driver was sedated and, upon his arrival to the hospital, unconscious. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Payne was sent to collect blood from this patient to check for illicit substances – a measure to supposedly protect the truck driver who not suspected of any crime. Detective Payne’s actions, on the other hand, are not being investigated by the FBI.
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