As the head nurse at Utah University Hospital's burn unit, it's Alex Wubbels's job to make sure hospital protocol and the rule of law is always followed on her watch. But on July 26, it was her brave refusal to abandon those duties, even for law enforcement, that resulted in a senselessly violent episode that was all caught on video.
It all started when Detective Jeff Payne requested to draw blood from an unconscious patient in Wubbels's unit. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that Payne, a trained police phlebotomist, had originally been sent to collect this particular patient's blood to conduct a substance level check that would clear the driver of any wrong-doing following a collision that resulted in another individual's death. But when Wubbels calmly explained to the detective that it would be out of line with both hospital protocol and the law to do so, he became increasingly agitated. Full video footage on Deseret News shows that Payne threatened to arrest her if she refused to allow him to leave with a blood sample. Standing her ground, Wubbels got on the phone with her supervisor, who again confirmed that no blood should be drawn from a patient who is unable to provide consent.
WATCH: Shocking footage shows a Utah nurse being arrested for refusing to give a patient's blood to police pic.twitter.com/tVcc2WUBoi
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 1, 2017
From there, the standoff between the nurse and detective turned violent. Wubbels's supervisor can be heard telling Detective Payne, "Sir, you're making a huge mistake because you're threatening a nurse." Payne appears to completely lose it after that remark, as he quickly moves to grab Wubbels immediately following the off-camera comment and angrily puts the nurse into handcuffs as she sobs. The most startling point in the footage, however, can be seen at the end when Detective Payne forcefully drags Wubbels into a police car as she screams "help me" to bystanders.
According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Salt Lake City police department is now conducting an internal investigation into the incident, though Payne has only been suspended from their blood-draw program and is currently still on the police department staff. As for Wubbels, she has not taken legal action against the department just yet, but says she is, however, sharing her story in hopes that it will shine a light on the need for better relationships between medical professionals and police officers.