Nurse refuses blood test on unconscious patient; gets cuffed

A Utah police officer's body camera video shows a hospital nurse being handcuffed after refusing to draw blood on an unconscious patient.

The video taken at University Hospital in Salt Lake City shows nurse Alex Wubbels calmly explaining to Salt Lake detective Jeff Payne that she couldn't draw blood on a patient who had been injured in a car accident. 

She told the officer a patient was required to give consent for a blood sample or be under arrest. Otherwise, she said police needed a warrant.

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The dispute ended with Payne telling the nurse she was under arrest and physically moving her out of the hospital while she screamed.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Wubbels was not charged. Police have started an internal investigation, but Payne remains on duty.

"University of Utah Health supports Nurse Wubbles and her decision to focus first and foremost on the care and well-being of her patient,” Suzanne Winchester, U of U Health media relations manager told KSTU in Salt Lake City. “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.”

In a statement released Friday, Mayor Jackie Biskupski said what she saw on video was "completely unacceptable." "I extend a personal apology to Ms. Wubbles for what she has been through for simply doing her job," Mayor Biskupski said. 

The chief of the Salt Lake City Police Department said he was also alarmed by what he saw in the video. "I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with," he said. 

Police have met with the hospital management to take steps this will never happen again, he said, and the officer has been suspended from the blood draw program.  

Wubbles has retained an attorney and told KSTU she will consider filing a lawsuit if changes are not made to improve the working relationships between law enforcement and medical providers.