When Utah nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested after refusing to allow police to withdraw blood from an unconscious patient, the shocking video exploded on the social media, going viral rapidly and sparking outrage, according to CNN.
And now, Wubbels, who works in the burn unit of the University of Utah Hospital is considering taking legal action.
Her July 26 arrest was captured on bodycam video, and the mayor of Salt Lake City as well as Salt Lake City police have since apologized, and Wubbels says she wants to find more effective ways for police and health care workers to work together.
Monday, on CNN’s New Day, the nurse and her attorney, Kara Porter discussed the terrifying incident and their legal options.
Here’s what Wubbels had to say:
“Right now, I’m trying to re-educate. As officers and health care workers, we have to work together on behalf of our citizens, our friends, the people we live with. If we’re going to have that dialogue and teamwork and camaraderie, we have to come to the table and have appropriate dialogue.”
Porter said a lawsuit may be filed “if that becomes necessary,” and listed the parties which could be involved: “the city, the officers, the university police, you know, there are quite a few.”
But she indicated that she and her client hope to find other ways to resolve the situation, adding:
“I think we’re going to give everyone involved an opportunity to do the right thing without having to be dragged into court to do it.”
During the incident, the nurse cited hospital policy and refused to let police draw blood from an unconscious patient who’d been admitted to the burn unit in a coma. Even though the driver wasn’t a suspect in the tragedy, which claimed the life of another driver, police still wanted his blood to be drawn.
So Wubbels presented the cops with a printout outlining hospital policy regarding drawing blood and told them their request didn’t meet the proper criteria. According to the policy, police must obtain a judge’s order, the patient’s consent, or the patient needs to be under arrest, CNN reports.
Porter noted it’s been more than a year since the hospital and Salt Lake City police had agreed to the policy, but “the officers here appeared to be unaware of it.”
In the video, police Detective Jeff Payne strides over to Wubbels when she refuses to violate hospital policy. She backs away after he says:
“Oh please, we’re done here. We’re done. We’re done.”
Then she shrieks as Payne forces her out the door towards a police cruiser. She screams and asks him to stop:
“I’ve done nothing wrong! I’ve done nothing wrong! Why is this happening? This is crazy!”
The poor woman was obviously confused by Payne’s rogue cop behavior. “Why is he so angry?” she asks.
The probable reason is that he’s a bastard on a power trip who didn’t get what he wanted, so he decided to act out, and this nurse happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when he did.
Payne handcuffed her and made her sit in the police car for about 20 minutes. She was released without being charged.
During her appearance on CNN, Wubbels told host Alisyn Camerota she had “no idea” how things escalated so quickly, Mediaite reports. She added:
“I stood my ground. I stood for what was right, which was to protect the patient.”
And she noted it was a terrifying situation to be in, saying she was “scared to death.”
“I really feel betrayed.”
The hospital has now banned officers from patient care areas, The Washington Post reports.
Fortunately, Wubbels managed to obtain the bodycam video, but it took her nearly a month to come to terms with the frightening incident. She said she wanted to wait until she could maintain her composure.
“I feel pretty strongly in just having sort of a good strong ability to stand up without emotion. And I need to afford myself some time to feel okay and be able to talk pragmatically about the situation without the emotion.”
But what’s really galling is that Payne and another officer who was also involved, have been put on administrative leave. Officers who are this quick to anger are a real danger to the public. As we’ve seen far too many times before, people of color are especially at risk, and this officer terrorized a nurse who was simply doing her job.
This cop needs his badge to be removed.
In the video below, Wubbels discusses the terrifying incident.
Featured image by Hannah Knowles via YouTube video.