Union Denounces 'Chilling' Assault on Nurse Defending Her Patient from Police

Nurse Alex Wubbels calmly showed a police officer her hospital's policy of prohibiting blood draws from unconscious patients. Moments later, the officer attacked and arrested her. (Photo: Karra Porter/screengrab)

Union Denounces 'Chilling' Assault on Nurse Defending Her Patient from Police

"You’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse."

The nation's largest nurses union is among those condemning the Salt Lake City police department after a video released Friday showed an officer physically assaulting and then arresting a nurse who refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.

While attempting to force registered nurse Alex Wubbels to draw the sample without the appropriate warrant or authority, Detective Jeff Payne became infuriated when Wubbels' supervisor defended her refusal. Payne lunged at the nurse and tried to arrest her while she screamed for help and her shocked colleagues protested.


Payne reportedly wanted a sample from a car accident victim, but without a warrant--which he matter-of-factly told Wubbels he did not have--both hospital policy and state law forbid it.

In a statement, NNU called the officer's actions "outrageous."

"The first job of a registered nurse is always to protect and advocate for her patient, period," said Jean Ross, the group's co-president. "As the videos and news accounts make clear, there is no excuse for this assault, or her arrest, which sends a chilling message about the safety of nurses and the rights of patients...It is particularly disgraceful to see violence in a hospital perpetrated by a law enforcement officer against a registered nurse who is advocating for her patient."

NNU's executive director, RoseAnn DeMoro, tweeted about the incident as well:

The incident took place July 26. Payne has been suspended from the department's operations involving blood draws, but is still on active duty.

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