SALT LAKE CITY – The mayor of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake City police are apologizing after reports and a video surfaced of a detective arresting a nurse for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reported Thursday that bodycam footage and video from University Hospital show Detective Jeff Payne arguing with nurse Alex Wubbels about a police officer who wanted to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
The Tribune reported the victim was injured in a collision July 26. The collision left another driver dead.
Video shows Wubbels tell Payne that she cannot draw blood from an unconscious patient unless they are under arrest, there is a warrant, or if the patient gives consent.
Although Payne acknowledged her statement, he insisted he had authority to get the sample, at one point threatening to arrest the nurse.
Video shows Payne handcuffing Wubbels and pulling her to get her into a patrol car.
On Friday The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill wanted an investigation into the incident.
Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Jackie Biskupski apologized to Wubbles in individual statements. After looking at the incident, Brown said his department “took steps to ensure this will never happen again.”
“We apologized for the incident and promised to find a solution. Additionally, our policy management team continues to work closely with the hospital staff on improved policies and training.”
“To date, we have suspended the officer from the blood draw program. We have already replaced our blood draw policy with a new policy,” Brown said at a Friday news conference, according to KTSU. All remaining officers on the blood draw program have reviewed, and are operating under the new policy and protocol.”
Biskupski said in her statement she watched the video of the incident.
“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.”
University of Utah Health, where Wubbles works, released a statement supporting her.
University of Utah Health fully supports Nurse Wubbels and we are proud her decision to focus first and foremost on the care and well-being of her patient. She followed procedures and protocols in this matter and was acting in her patient’s best interest. We have worked with our law enforcement partners on this issue to ensure an appropriate process for moving forward.
American Nurses Association also responded through a tweet from its president, Pam Cipriano.
It is outrageous and unacceptable that a nurse should be treated in this way for following her professional duty to advocate on behalf of the patient as well as following the police of her employer and the law. Nurse Wubbels did everything right. It is imperative that law enforcement and nursing professionals respect each other and resolve conflicts through dialogue and due process.
The police department said Payne has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation into the incident began.