A charge nurse in the burn unit at the University of Utah Hospital says she was assaulted by a Salt Lake City police detective after she told the detective he couldn't draw blood from a patient who was unconscious, a violation of hospital policy.
"I just feel betrayed, I feel angry, I feel a lot of things, and I am still confused," nurse Alex Wubbels said during a news conference Thursday, according to the Deseret News. "I'm a healthcare worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe. A blood draw, it just gets thrown around like it's some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That's your property, and when a patient comes in a critical state, that blood is extremely important, and I don't take it lightly."
Video footage from police officers' body cameras taken during the July 26 incident showed Wubbels, a charge nurse at the University of Utah Hospital, and Detective Jeff Payne, a police phlebotomist, engaged in a back-and-forth after Payne insisted on taking a blood sample from the unconscious patient.
Wubbels refused and told the detective hospital policy states that blood cannot be drawn from an unconscious patient unless police have a warrant, the patient consents, or is under arrest.
The patient in question was severely burned in a car crash and was taken to the hospital in a coma, according to the Deseret News. The patient wasn't suspected of committing a crime.
Payne was instructed by another policy agency to go to the hospital and get vials of blood for the investigation, which involved a separate vehicle that was fleeing law enforcement.
Though Wubbels told Payne about the hospital's policy, the detective insisted on taking the sample, and at one point in the video footage says he would arrest Wubbels for intervening in a criminal investigation if she prevented him from doing so.
After a supervisor agreed with the nurse, Payne told the nurse she was under arrest, took her outside and handcuffed her. Payne then put Wubbels in a patrol car, where she sat for 20 minutes. The nurse was ultimately released, and no charges were filed.
Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer told the Deseret News that police chief Mike Brown saw the video and said it was "very alarming."
Payne was suspended from the blood draw program but remains on active duty, and the department is investigating the incident.