Utah nurse arrested for refusing to draw blood from unconscious patient

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Utah nurse arrested for refusing to draw blood from unconscious patient

A nurse in Utah said she was assaulted and illegally arrested by a Salt Lake City police detective for following hospital policy that forbids blood draws from unconscious patients, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

Nurse Alex Wubbels and Detective Jeff Payne were discussing whether the officer should be allowed to get a blood sample from a patient who had been injured in a July 26 collision, the Tribune reported. The crash left one person dead.

Footage from University Hospital and officer body cameras shows Wubbels saying that blood cannot be taken from an unconscious patient unless the patient is under arrest, unless there is a warrant allowing the draw or unless the patient consents. The detective acknowledges in the footage that none of those requirements is in place, but insists he has the authority to obtain the draw, according to the footage.

At one point, Payne threatened to arrest Wubbels to jail if he doesn’t get the sample.

“I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow,” Payne said in the footage.

Wubbels is shown talking to hospital officials on the phone and repeats the policy to Payne. At that point, the detective tells Wubbels she is under arrest and handcuffs her. More footage shows the detective dragging Wubbels out of the hospital and into a patrol car, the Tribune reported.

Parts of the footage were shown Thursday at a news conference at the office of Karra Porter, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Wubbels, the Tribune reported.

Salt Lake City police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said an internal investigation is ongoing.

Payne was suspended from the department’s blood-draw program but remains on duty with the Police Department, Shearer said. The department also has held training for the officers in the program as a result of the incident, he said.

Wubbels, who was not charged, said she has watched the footage four or five times.

“It hurts to relive it,” she told the Tribune.

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