Sunday 17 December 2017

Detective who arrested Utah nurse after blood sample row fired from second job

'Those remarks are just not reflective of our company's philosophy,' says ambulance boss

Nurse Alex Wubbels followed hospital policy she told a police officer that he could not get a blood sample without a warrant or consent from the patient (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Nurse Alex Wubbels followed hospital policy she told a police officer that he could not get a blood sample without a warrant or consent from the patient (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Harriet Agerholm

A police officer accused of assaulting a nurse after she refused to allow him to take a blood sample without a warrant has been fired from his second job.

Jeff Payne, who worked for Fold Cross Ambulance service, was sacked over comments he made while arresting a nurse were captured on his body-worn camera.

Footage of the incident – in which Utah nurse Alex Wubbels is seen being forcibly removed from The University of Utah Hospital – prompted outrage when it was shared widely online.

Ms Wubbels, who was working on the burns unit, acted according to hospital policy when she refused to allow the Salt Lake City police officer to take blood from an unconscious patient.

The patient had reportedly been badly injured following a police chase. He was not suspected of any wrongdoing in connection with the crash.

During the incident, Mr Payne suggested he would bring homeless patients to the university hospital, while taking "good" patients elsewhere, president of the ambulance service Mike Moffitt told Reuters.

“Those remarks are just not reflective of our company's philosophy and the service we provide and because of that behaviour we felt we had to separate ways,” he said.

“His comments reflected poorly on the company and violated several company policies.”

After the arrest, the Utah hospital issued new restrictions on law enforcement after the incident, including barring officers from having direct contact with nurses and stopping them entering areas where patients were treated.

Gordon Crabtree, acting chief executive of the hospital, said he was “deeply troubled” by the manhandling of the nurse, who was an Olympic skier before starting work as a nurse.

Video from a police body camera shows nurse Alex Wubbels being arrested by a Salt Lake City police officer at University Hospital (Salt Lake City Police Department/Courtesy of Karra Porter via AP)
Video from a police body camera shows nurse Alex Wubbels being arrested by a Salt Lake City police officer at University Hospital (Salt Lake City Police Department/Courtesy of Karra Porter via AP)

“This will not happen again,” Mr Crabtree said. He praised Ms Wubbels for “putting her own safety at risk” to protect patients' rights.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Police Chief Mike Brown have since apologised to Ms Wubbels for opening a criminal investigation into the incident.

Reuters

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