The saga that seemingly doesn’t end. Another day another innocent person arrested and forcefully so. Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested for following hospital policy. She was arrested for not obtaining a blood sample of an unconscious victim from a car accident. This blood sample would be to determine alcohol or drug levels in a high-speed chase that ended in a horrific car accident. The driver was severely burned and unconscious. The frustrated detective, Jeff Payne, needed the blood sample to determine level of guilt. He needed one of 3 things to get the blood sample based on hospital policy, which was previously agreed on by law enforcement; the person needed to be under arrest, the needed to have a warrant, or the person’s consent. Unfortunately, the police did not have a warrant, the person was unconscious, and since he was in intensive care he wasn’t under arrest.
Both people were involved were just following orders. Detective Jeff Payne was told by his supervisor to arrest Alex Wubbels for interfering with an investigation. The problem was a time constraint. If the person was under the influence of alcohol it would be out of his system after a period of time. So, the police needed teh blood sample as quickly as possible.
However, Alex Wubbels needed to follow hospital policy. If she doesn’t she could lose her job and her license as a nurse. She was just the messenger and had contacted a supervisor who was on the phone and confirmed hospital policy. She was forcefully removed from the premise by the detective and released after 20 min of sitting in a police vehicle handcuffed.
The police have little fear of taking aggressive action. They know they are protected even with the body cams on. The body cams are a whole different blog post. Despite the terrible actions between the police officer and nurse it seems that Salt Lake City officials are taking the right actions to resolve the issue. The mayor and the chief of police have apologized. Quoting the mayor’s apology “Within 24 hours of this incident, Salt Lake City Police Department took steps to ensure this will never happen again. We met with hospital CEO and COO, Nursing Management Team, their legal representation team, and University of Utah Chief Brophy.” These are definitely the right actions to take as this incident should have never happened. The police and nurses are supposed to be allies. This is a wake up call for positive change in relationships between the nurses and police across the country. I hope that hospitals and police officers work together to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in the country. More police state stories to come I’m sure.