Utah nurse arrested for not giving police patient blood sample

Alex Wubbels

Alex Wubbels

Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse who was arrested for refusing an officer's demand to get a blood draw from an unconscious patient without a warrant, has responded to the apologies offered by Salt Lake City's Mayor and Chief of Police.

Protesters chanted, "Acts of police brutality, not in our community", and called for justice for Wubbels as they held signs declaring, "Hands off our nurses" and "Fire Detective Payne".

The images show Wubbels consulting with colleagues and showing the waiting officers a printout of the hospital's policy before being arrested.

"I'm just a nurse trying to protect my patients", Wubbels said in the video.

Wubbels told Payne that the patient is required to be conscious to give consent, unless the patient is under arrest or if officers had a warrant. The officers didn't have either. "We're done", Payne said.

In the video, Salt Lake City Officer Jeff Payne is demanding a blood sample from William Gray, who is a reserve police officer in Idaho who was involved in an accident in Utah.

Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said what happened to Wubbels was unacceptable. She said officers have already received additional training but that they are still sorting out the department's response since the law changed.

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He said his boss, a lieutenant, whose actions are also under review, told him to place Wubbels under arrest if she interferes with the investigation.

Late on Friday, city officials said the Unified Police Department was going to conduct a criminal probe into the incident.

In this case, the unconscious patient qualified for none of the exceptions.

"Nurses are the most trusted professionals in the USA year after year, in part because nurses take seriously our ethical duty to act in the best interest of our patients at all times and in all settings", the statement said. "It's your property", she said.

Police body-camera video shows Wubbels calmly explaining the situation to the detective. "To date, we have suspended the officer from the blood draw program".

Wubbels, the charge nurse in the burn unit, presented the officers with a printout of hospital policy on drawing blood and said their request did not meet the criteria.

Now ABC News reports that Payne has been put on paid administrative leave. "I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with".

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