Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels Arrested For Following The Law [VIDEO]

Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels Arrested For Following The Law [VIDEO]

Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels Arrested For Following The Law [VIDEO]

Alex Wubbels, the head nurse of the Burn Unit at the University of Utah’s hospital, was professional, calm, and totally correct when she refused to administer a blood test without a warrant.

Unfortunately, the police officer, Detective Jeff Payne, who’d been with the police blood draw program for several years …wasn’t.

The background of the story is this. The patient suffered burns when a suspect fleeing the police crashed into his vehicle. Detective Payne demanded blood be drawn and Alex Wubbels refused because again, there was no warrant. Numerous supervisors reaffirmed Alex’s decision as well, and it must be noted that all the medical personnel followed the law.

The situation deteriorated from there.

Yes, you saw that correctly. Detective Payne, in spite of being informed that a warrant was needed, persisted and lost his temper. He crowded Alex, then threw her up against the wall after dragging her outside the hospital, cuffed her, and stuffed her in the vehicle. 

This incident should never have happened. The patient was not only unable to give consent because he was unconscious, he was the VICTIM in the accident! It is a mystery why a blood draw was deemed necessary. It’s unconscionable that Detective Payne, who admits on the video that he was going too far, threw all his training out the window! As for the University of Utah police officer, he should be reprimanded or even fired for standing by and doing nothing during this incident.

Thursday, Alex and her attorney Karra Porter held a press conference.

Understandably, she was upset about how everything went down and is traumatized to boot.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry. I feel a lot of things. And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe. A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly,” she said.

She has called for better training of the police in regards to the laws and regulations that they must adhere to. Will she file a lawsuit? Right now that’s unclear, but it sure seems there are grounds for one.

The Salt Lake police department issued a statement that reads in part:

“I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. Wubbles. I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with. I want to be clear, we take this very seriously. Immediate steps were taken and within 12 hours, body cam footage was reviewed and an internal affairs investigation started.

The Mayor also released a statement:

“Like many of you, I watched the video of police officers interacting with University of Utah Medical Center nurse Alex Wubbles for the first time through the media late yesterday. 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.

You can read it in its entirety here. The American Nurses Association has responded as well.

Again, Payne was a trained phlebotomist and had been doing this for years, thus he knew the law and the regulations inside and out. Both Payne and his lieutenant, who ordered Alex’s arrest, were WAY out of bounds on this.

Full disclosure. This author has had the great pleasure of working with outstanding LEO’s all across the country for years. It is cases like this that every single one of those officers abhors because of the horrible message this sends.

Payne, the lieutenant, the campus police, and the police departments involved have a great deal to answer for on this. Especially since it is cases like this that add to the growing mistrust of law enforcement in this country.

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  • Jodi Giddings says:

    Holy moly, these two guys are in trouble. Or at least they should be!

  • Ralph says:

    After retiring from 20 years in law enforcement, I decided to go into nursing, and begin a new career. To say the least, this video pissed me off.

    As a police officer, I required blood draws from numerous people, none of which were ever the victim. So this makes zero sense to me. The “detective” is an idiot, and while the internal investigation is being done, an excessive force investigation should be done by Utah’s state DOJ, and Payne should be criminally charged with battery under color of authority.

    Nurses have very rigid guidelines, and regardless of what anyone thinks, nurses are responsible for not taking action, when a doctor, or in this case, an idiot makes the wrong decision. Wubbles knew what she was permitted, and not permitted to do under the law, and Payne disregarded the law when he committed battery against Wubbles. If Wubble’s doesn’t sue Payne, and his agency, Wubbles is not just allowing Payne and his department to get away with this affront to her, but all the other medical personnel that may face this kind of outrageous behavior down the road.

    One thing to note, of the two professions, nurses are considered the #1 profession that people trust most. Law enforcement, last time I looked, comes in somewhere between 13th, and 16th place. This little incident will do nothing to improve law enforcement likability.

    • Nina says:

      Ralph, thank you for your comment. I too am very puzzled as to why a blood sample was needed from the victim.

      As Kim pointed out below, the victim is a reserve police officer. But what that had to do with the unlawful warrantless demand for a blood draw is extremely puzzling.

      It will be interesting to see this unfold. And sadly it is actions like this that, as I noted, paint a black mark on the actions of good cops.

  • Kim Quade says:

    Well, looky here.

    The truck driver victim is a reserve police officer from Idaho.


    It appears that the Salt Lake PD was intent on getting the victim’s blood as a CYA in case the family sued for the reckless high speed chase. They were hoping for some drugs in the victim’s blood.

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