Within the past week, footage has emerged of a Utah nurse getting arrested after refusing to take blood from an unconscious patient for a detective, and from the video, it clearly shows that this situation couldn’t have been handled any worse.
The video appearing on multiple news pages including NBC and Channel 4’s Facebook page shows Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital, simply trying to protect her patient’s rights and I commend her for doing that.
It takes a real hero to be willing to stand up to an officer by telling him no and risk being arrested than to risk losing her job and submit to imitation.
Caught on video through a vest camera, Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne grabs Wubbels and drags her out of the hospital saying, “We’re done here,” after Wubbel’s supervisor tells Payne over the phone that he is making a huge mistake by threatening a nurse.
Seconds before this, Wubbels explained to her supervisor that the detective has repeatedly told her that he didn’t have a warrant and the patient wasn’t under arrest.
She explained to him that she was just trying to do her job, but Payne was solely focused on how she was telling him no. And from there, he grabs her, drags her outside and pushes her up to the wall to put handcuffs on her.
What this detective did was wrong on so many levels. First of all, the patient whose blood he was trying to get a sample of did nothing wrong and didn’t need to have a sample of his blood taken without his consent.
The patient was a victim of a car crash caused by another man who was trying to flee from the cops. So if anything, the detective should have been focusing on getting blood samples from the man who started the accident-not the innocent “bystander” who got brought into it.
This detective attempted to use intimidation to get the nurse to give him information that he did not have the right to have access to. I think this cop was power hungry and he wanted to go as far as he possibly could to get what he was after. Again, I want to reiterate how great it was that Wubbels still refused to give it to him. She was simply doing her job and wearing her scrubs with honor.
What I also don’t understand is why the other officers in the hospital just stood around and watched this detective aggressively arrest her even when hearing what the hospital’s policy was with the Salt Lake City police department.
From the video, it’s like they didn’t even flinch and there was no debate on the arrest. Despite the horrendous behavior of this detective, there was a something good that came out of this.
On Sept. 6, 2017, CNN, NBC and various other news organizations reported that the detective was fired from his paramedic job and the hospital has changed its policies as well. From now on, police officers are only allowed to speak with senior superior nurses and they aren’t allowed to make contact with nurses in patient areas. I think Detective Payne got exactly what he deserved, and I hope that this serves as a lesson for him.
Rather than keeping them apart, this event seemed to bring together the Salt Lake City Police Department, the hospital and the community.
Both the Mayor, Jackie Biskupski, and University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy both stood by Wubbels’ side, praising her for what she did. What happened in this hospital highlighted the perfect example of a situation that was poorly handled.
Grace Pecci can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org