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Video: Utah cop arrests nurse for refusing access to patient for blood draw

Det. Jeff Payne argued that he was allowed to take blood through an “implied consent” process even though the patient was comatose

By EMS1 Staff

SALT LAKE CITY — A detective is under investigation after arresting a nurse who refused to allow him access to a comatose patient in order to take blood samples.

Alex Wubbels told KSL that Det. Jeff Payne came into University Hospital’s Burn Unit where she was working as a charge nurse on July 26 and asked for access to the patient to take blood for an investigation. Payne, a trained police phlebotomist, did not have a warrant and the unconscious patient could not provide consent, so Wubbels denied him access, the Washington Post reported.

What happened next was caught on the body cameras of the other responding officers and is now part of an internal investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department, reported the Salt Lake City Tribune.

A man fleeing police crashed head-on into a truck driver and was instantly killed. The surviving driver, who is also a reserve police officer in the Rigby, Idaho, Police Department, suffered severe burns was taken to the hospital sedated and in a comatose state, the Tribune reported.

The body camera video, released Thursday, shows Wubbels speaking with multiple supervisors on the phone, confirming their policy about drawing blood without consent. Payne can be heard threatening to arrest her and becomes impatient. Both remain in a standoff saying they are following orders.

“I’m doing what I’m being told by my boss, and I’m going to do what my boss says,” Payne said in the video.

Payne then arrests Wubbels for “interfering with a criminal investigation.”

The body camera captures Payne dragging the nurse out of the hospital and placing her inside the patrol car, as she is screaming, “Help! Help! Somebody help me! Stop! Stop! I did nothing wrong!”
Wubbels’ attorney Karra Porter said Payne argued he was allowed to take the blood under an “implied consent” process, but that law changed years ago.

She was later released and no charges were ever filed against her. Sgt. Brandon Shearer said that the police chief had seen the video and called it “very alarming.” Payne was suspended from active duty pending an internal investigation. He said the blood-draw policy “hadn’t been updated for a little bit,” but it has since been changed and training is scheduled for all officers.

Wubbels said she wanted to share the video to help police train better when dealing with doctors and nurses.

“I want to see people do the right thing first and I want to see this be a civil discourse,” she said. “And if that’s not something that’s going to happen and there is refusal to acknowledge the need for growth and the need for re-education, then we will likely be forced to take that type of step. But people need to know that this is out there.”

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