(July? Funny how none of the MSM coverage I’ve watched mentions the date that this incident took place.)
Viral-Video Arrest of Nurse Refusing to Draw Blood From Unconscious Patient; Conflict of Interest at Core
By Jamie Wells, M.D. — September 1, 2017
A disturbing video (start at minute 4:55) went viral of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels being handcuffed, while screaming as she tried to do her job. The images obtained from University Hospital and Detective Jeff Payne’s body cameras reveal the standoff. At issue: if the police officer could obtain a blood sample from her patient who was hurt from a July 26 collision that involved a fatality.
In an ironic twist, as the nurse painstakingly endeavors not to violate the rights of her patient she ultimately is handcuffed screaming, “You are assaulting me! Help!”
Nurse Wubbels contended that she was not permitted to take blood from an unconscious patient unless these conditions were met: 1) the patient was under arrest, 2) the officer had a warrant, 3) the patient consented. For obvious reasons, a medical professional cannot achieve informed consent of an impaired patient and the other mandates were not realized which the detective acknowledged.
Karra Porter, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Wubbels, noted to the media ““implied consent” (as claimed by the Detective) has not been the law in Utah since 2007, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the Constitution permits warrantless breath tests in drunken-driving arrests, but not warrantless blood tests. She stressed that the patient was always considered the victim in the case and never was suspected of wrongdoing.”
The video is upsetting to watch given the clear devotion to patient care of burn unit nurse Wubbels. The battles healthcare professionals face extend well beyond high volumes, increased regulations, and the nature of patient care itself. This unfortunate event demonstrates what is fundamentally at odds with a provider delivering care and that of law enforcement. That nurse beyond the hospital policies and Utah laws is ethically responsible for being a fierce advocate for her patient. Her duty is to her patient, not even the hospital or the police. Performing a procedure without consent would place her into the realm of commiting assault and battery. Her oath and the requirements of her profession dictate the highest standard. These are universal no matter the patient. The rules and principles don’t change no matter the identity of the patient or even in this case where it appears the police wanted to clear the patient with that sample.
The MSM have picked up on this story…Now. But this story and the behavior of the detective would have gone unremarked on or investigated but for the release of the video by social media. Not by the TV, or the Newspapers. There was no investigation nor was there any disciplinary action taken against the detective until the video went viral. Having been caught literally ‘sweeping the story under the rug”, the Mayor and Police Commissioner needed the MSM to downplay or stand mute on the timing of any action on their part.
As to the (defensive) statement that the police officer was drawing blood to “exonerate” the unconscious patient, says who? Especially since that excuse came up after the uproar over the nurse’s arrest.
Following an ‘high-speed chase’ that is itself under investigation for following the policy on such chases on crowded roads, the suspect in that chase lost control (crossed the center line) and crashed (front-end to front-end) into the commercial truck driven by the patient. What exactly did the patient need to be ‘exonerated’ for?
But the police, possibly facing expensive lawsuits, had a strong inclination to ‘find’ evidence of illegal substances in the blood of the patient.
However, under that set of circumstances, the blood draw AND TESTING should
be done by an unbiased agency, i.e. a warrant requesting the hospital
perform the draw and test the blood. Chain of evidence passing through
the hands of a interested party (The Police), in a situation where the
police department or it’s members stood a chance of legal or civil
charges that could be negated if (somehow) something showed up in the blood of the patient. That’s what this nurse MIGHT have prevented.
The cop was certainly irate over something. Very irate. Very.