Update: Officer Involved In Utah Nurse Arrest Fired

    The Utah police officer seen on video roughly arresting a nurse who refused to draw blood from a patient was fired Tuesday from his part-time paramedic job.

    Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne’s termination came after he said on the video that he’d bring transient patients to the hospital and take the “good patients” elsewhere to retaliate against nurse Alex Wubbels.

    Those remarks were concerning for Gold Cross Ambulance President Mike Moffitt, who said he’d heard them for the first time when the video was released last week.

    “That’s not the way we conduct our business, that’s not the way we treat people in our city,” Moffitt said.

    Wubbels was following hospital policy when she refused on July 26 to let Payne take blood without a warrant or formal consent from the patient who was unconscious in the hospital burn unit.

    He had been in a car accident that started with a police chase. Payne maintained in his report that he wanted the blood sample to protect the man rather than prosecute him.

    There were no answers Tuesday at publicly listed phone numbers for Payne. The Salt Lake police union didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment

    Police body-camera video shows Wubbels calmly explaining that she could not allow a blood draw from a patient who hadn’t been arrested or consented, unless police had a warrant. They did not, but Payne insisted and put her on the phone with his lieutenant who said she would be arrested if she didn’t agree.

    The dispute ended with Payne handcuffing Wubbels and dragging her outside while she screamed and said, “I’ve done nothing wrong!”

    Her lawyer, Karra Porter, said she can understand ambulance company would be troubled by his comments and the decision to let him go wasn’t surprising.

    Payne was put on paid leave by Salt Lake City police after the video emerged. A second officer was also put on leave after authorities opened a criminal investigation into the arrest.

    The other officer has not been identified. Police have said the lieutenant’s actions are also under review.

    Payne joined Salt Lake City police more than 20 years ago and worked for Gold Cross as an EMT and paramedic since 1983. He was generally a hardworking, conscientious employee who followed the rules, so his behavior on the video was shocking, Moffitt said.

    Gold Cross is a private company that contracts with Salt Lake City to respond to medical calls in the city.

    Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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    9 COMMENTS

    1. I side with the nurse. I am registered nurse and the police officer was “out of line”. The nurse was following hospital policy and the nurse works for the hospital. I’m sure the patient had blood taken anyway and the police officer could have obtained a warrant in a different manner to secure “blood testing” afterwards from the samples afterwards. What the police officer did against the nurse was “JUST WRONG” and he acted in a “BULLY” manner towards her.

    2. I had hoped that this detective would have not only been terminated from his part time job as paramedic but at least demoted with a pay cut in law enforcement and also, have to take some continuing education specifically regarding laws in healthcare..patient rights, etc. This tragic incident should have never happened. She knew what she was talking about and he did not. She called her superior and he had the chance to do the same for clarification, he did not. Standing behind the badge and gun does not necessarily make you wise and act with common sense. I am retired nurse and I am proud of Alex for standing her ground.

    3. He should be fired and arrested for abuse of power and never allowed to have a badge again and he should pay restitution to the nurse and if the police force can ignore and brush off that conduct they should be sued also that’s wrong unprofessional and abusive behavior and if the dept can excuse that behavior they should all turn in the badges clarifying anyone involved in that type of decision

    4. I have been a nurse for over 25 years and I also hold a Class A CDL license which I understand the unconscious patient did too. I am not sure that the laws are any different in Utah than they are here in Texas because generally Trucking laws are federal not state. Having said that, I want to be clear that I am not endorsing the rough Behavior or anything else but it would appear that the police department, this man’s supervisor spoke with a nurse and informed her that she must allow the blood draw or be arrested so it would seem that the officer was following the policy and Orders of his Superior officer. As far as I know a wart or consent is not required to get a blood draw anytime a driver holding a CDL license is involved in an accident as far as I know it is actually required that I CDL Holder have an alcohol and drug scene post any accident. I do understand the nurses reluctance and I do not know whether anybody Explain the law to her or not or if perhaps the law was different but I think we need to avoid a rush to judgment on this officer who may have not acted in the most tactful manner but if the law there is as it is here, he was doing his job and while tactfulness would be appreciated it certainly is not required. When someone with a badge and legal authority to do something tells you to do something and you don’t do it then it then it becomes the officer’s Duty to arrest you. We have seen a lot of what is referred to as police indifference and brutality in the streets when apprehending criminals who have broken the law and in many cases have done violence against others and then we scream and holler OH police brutality. While this officer could have been more tactful, he certainly wasn’t brutal and it does not appear that the nurse suffered any life-threatening injuries. I think that Clarity needs to be brought to hospital employees and that officers need to do a better job explaining the rules in these cases up front so there will not be an escalation of emotions and aggravation on both sides. I was taught growing up that if an officer told me to do something to follow his instructions because he was a representative of the law whether I liked him or respected him as an individual or not. I must respect his authority. This is not so cut-and-dry when you are a nurse and I am aware of that because in our society nurses are held to a higher standard and we are put in the middle on a daily basis because law and rules that apply to the general public do not apply the same to us. If a superior tells us to do something and we think it might be wrong for our patient then as a nurse we have to stand up for our patient or face the possibility of losing our license while at the same time we are in danger of losing our jobs and this has happened time and time again. I have seen doctors get repeated DUIs and molest patients and commit other crimes and nothing ever happens to them. I have seen nurses get one DUI and have to jump through all kinds of Hoops for the nursing board or lose their license. If a nurse has a student loan and it is not in a satisfactory repayment agreement the nursing board here in Texas will not renew their license and yet we know there are doctors all across this nation who are making ridiculous money and don’t pay back there and student loans. I know that I have expanded this discussion Beyond this particular incident but something needs to be done to protect nurses or just give us the same rights that every other citizen enjoys.

      • You need to go and read the entire story. The law there and Hospital policy was that the police needed a warrant, or the patient had to give consent or be under arrest. This was a policy the police and Hospital had agreed upon. The nurse was following policy by not letting the officer draw blood. He and the LT were in the wrong. The victim as hit by a man the police were chasing. They wanted to cover their own butts in this matter.

      • I don’t believe your premise that the nurse in this situation should commit assault on an unconscious person who is under her care. It is considered assault even when directed by an officer of the law.

    5. As a 40 year veteran nurse it is saddening that this officer showed such little respect for this nurse. We work very closely with our police department and have a wonderful working relationship and respect for each other in NC. Both professions have hard and thankless jobs. I pray one poor decision on this officers part does not influence others in what has been for years respect and admiration for each other’s profession!

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