Utah hospital apologises to nurse Alex Wubbels after alleged unlawful arrest [VIDEOS]

By @chelean on
  • Nurse Alex Wubbels
    Nurse Alex Wubbels is shown during an incident at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., in this still photo taken from police body-worn camera video taken July 26, 2017 and provided September 1, 2017. Salt Lake City Police Department/Handout via Reuters
  • Nurse Alex Wubbels
    Nurse Alex Wubbels is shown during an incident at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., in this still photo taken from police body-worn camera video taken July 26, 2017 and provided September 1, 2017. Salt Lake City Police Department/Handout via Reuters
  • Nurse Alex Wubbels
    Nurse Alex Wubbels is shown during an incident at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., in this still photo taken from police body-worn camera video taken July 26, 2017 and provided September 1, 2017. Salt Lake City Police Department/Handout via Reuters
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The University of Utah Hospital has apologised after one of their nurses was apparently illegally arrested by a police officer. US Nurse Alex Wubbels was seen in a video being intimidated and arrested by the police when she refused to allow him to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.

On Monday, interim chief executive of the hospital Gordon Crabtree said that he was “deeply troubled” by how Wubbels was treated by Detective Jeff Payne on July 26. The hospital has copped criticism for failing to protect its staff member during the time of need.

Crabtree said the incident has prompted the hospital to implement policy changes to prevent the same from happening again. The changes, which took effect in August, dictate that police are no longer permitted in patient-care areas in the hospital. They may also deal with “house supervisors” instead of nurses if they have a request.

The exec also commended Wubbels for her “nothing less than exemplary” actions on that day. He clarified, though, that the hospital took action long before the video, which was captured on a body camera, was released by Wubbels last week.

The nurse previously said she released the video, which her attorneys received through public records, partly because the university police was not able to help her. Meanwhile, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy admitted that none of the officers at the hospital have been disciplined. He said (via the Associated Press) that he had not seen the video yet when he met with Wubbels last week.

Police arrests burn unit nurse for complying with the law

In the dramatic video, Wubbels, who is in the burn unit area of the hospital, is seen telling Payne that she could not take blood sample from an unconscious patient injured in a car accident. She is heard talking to her supervisor on speaker phone to back her up. The supervisor agrees with her, telling the officer that he was making a mistake in threatening the nurse, who was just following the law.

Nurses’ code of ethics states that police are required to have warrant from the court or permission from the patient to draw a blood sample. They could also get sample if the patient was under arrest, which Payne admitted that he was not.

An agitated Payne then tells Wubbels, “You’re under arrest. We’re done!” He is then seen manhandling Wubbels and placing her in handcuffs. When asked why he was blaming her, he answers, “Because she’s the one who told me no.”

Wubbels objects and screams for help, but the other officers with Payne are seen just calmly observing the scene. She is placed in the police car for 20 minutes before releasing her without charge. According to her lawyer, Kara Porter, she was only released when the detective realised that the blood had already been drawn as part of the treatment.

Payne wrote in his police report that he grabbed Wubbels to take her outside only to avoid causing a scene in the emergency room. He claimed his boss told him to arrest Wubbels if she kept interfering.

Salt Lake City Police Department has released a statement to say that there would be an investigation onto the matter and Payne would be put on paid leave. His boss’ actions were also being reviewed, according to Boston Herald.

Since the video has made rounds online, the unconscious patient has been named as William Gray, a reserve officer at the Rigby Police Department in another US state, Idaho. Gray, who is also a full-time truck driver, was flown to the hospital’s burn unit after a suspect speeding away from police in a pickup truck smashed head-on into Gray’s truck on a local highway.

“The Rigby Police Department would like to thank the nurse involved and hospital staff for standing firm and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim,” the department said in a statement, referring to Wubbels. “Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act.”

Wubbels has not yet filed charges against the Utah police but that could change. Criminal and internal affairs investigation is ongoing.

 Watch Det Jeff Payne arrests Utah nurse Alex Wubbels

Watch University of Utah Hospital press conference

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