l The Latest: Prosecutor wants criminal probe of nurse arrest


The Washington Post

SALT LAKE CITY — The Latest on a nurse in Utah who was handcuffed by police over a blood draw (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A Utah prosecutor says he’s asked for a criminal investigation into a police officer who dragged a nurse from a hospital and arrested her for refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Friday that he was concerned when he saw police body-camera footage of the officer arresting nurse Alex Wubbels in July.

Gill says he called Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown to request the investigation and that the chief agreed.

Gill says Brown will choose an outside police agency to investigate. He declined to say what charges the officer could face.

Police did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment or details about the criminal investigation.


2 p.m.

A Utah nurse says she was scared to death and trying to find anything to hold on to when a police officer dragged her from a hospital and handcuffed her for refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient.

Alex Wubbels said in an interview Friday that the officer lost his temper on July 26 and “attacked me and assaulted me and dragged me out of my emergency department.”

She says she was screaming and “just trying to hold on to anything that was keeping me safe because no one else was keeping me safe.”

Wubbels says that before her arrest, the officer was agitated and angry as she explained that hospital policy prevented her from drawing the patient’s blood without a warrant, the patient being under arrest or with their consent.


1:15 p.m.

A Utah hospital says it’s proud of the way their nurse handled a confrontation with a police officer, who has been slammed by fellow nurses as violent.

The University of Utah Health hospital said in a statement Friday that Alex Wubbels followed procedures and protocols in the July 26 incident.

Wubbels was threatened with arrest by Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne when she refused to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious burn center patient.

National Nurses United called it a disgraceful and outrageous act of violence for the officer to drag the screaming nurse out of the hospital in handcuffs.

The union also cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2016, which affirms that a blood sample cannot be taken without patient consent or a warrant.


1 p.m.

A Utah nurse who was handcuffed and dragged from her job after she refused to allow a blood draw on an unconscious patient says she’s accepting apologies from the Salt Lake City mayor and police chief.

Alex Wubbels said in a statement Friday that felt the personal apologies were sincere.

She also says she looks forward to working with them to promote civil dialogue and education.

She says they’re taking the matter seriously and she believes positive change will come out of it.

Wubbels says the outpouring of support she’s received since releasing dramatic video of the exchange was beyond what she could have imagined.


12:15 p.m.

The mayor of Salt Lake City says the arrest of a nurse who told a police officer she couldn’t draw blood from an unconscious patient is completely unacceptable.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski says it’s a troubling setback to efforts to train officers to de-escalate situations rather than use force.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also weighed in Friday, a day after dramatic video surfaced of the exchange with nurse Alex Wubbels. He says in a tweet that the footage is disturbing and he trusts police will rectify the situation.

Police Chief Mike Brown says he’s alarmed and sad the incident caused a rift between police and nurses.

He says the department has taken steps to ensure it won’t happen again. The officer has been removed from a drawing blood but remains employed during an internal investigation.


10:30 a.m.

Salt Lake City police have apologized after an officer handcuffed a hospital nurse for refusing a blood draw from an unconscious patient.

Police spokeswoman Christina Judd said the agency initiated an internal investigation within hours of the July 26 encounter between Detective Jeff Payne and University Hospital burn unit nurse Alex Wubbels that was caught on the officer’s body camera.

Payne has been suspended from blood-draw duties but remains in his role as a detective in the investigations unit.

Judd says the assistant chief has apologized to the hospital and that the department is alarmed by what they saw in the video .

Judd said the department is working to investigate what went wrong and is seeking to repair the “unfortunate rift” it has caused.