The world of social media was shaken when footage emerged of nurse Alex Wubbels being arrested, after refusing to allow a police officer to take blood from an unconscious patient.
Alex had been following hospital protocol – and by allowing Detective Jeff Payne to take the samples without a warrant or patient consent – she would’ve been breaking the law.
Former Olympic skier Alex, had been working in the burns unit at the University of Utah hospital, when Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne arrived, asking to obtain vials of blood from an unconscious patient.
The badly injured patient was a truck driver who’d been brought to the unit after a serious road traffic accident – a collision which had left another driver dead.
Alex explained to the officer how she’d be unable to take blood from the patient.
However, Officer Payne refused to back down and threatened to have Alex arrested if she didn’t give in to his demands – at one point, he can be heard saying:
I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow.
The shocking incident was captured on a body cam by members of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and the footage quickly went viral.
Now, Alex has received a $500,000 (£375,000) settlement following her ordeal, which is being paid by both the University of Utah hospital and Salt Lake City local government.
It’s been reported she’ll now use the money to help others who’ve found themselves in a similar situation – funding their legal help.
Some of the money will also be donated to the Utah Nurses Union.
Going forward, Alex will continue to fight against the physical and verbal abuse of nurses, through the American Nurses Association backed #EndNurseAbuse campaign.
Alex made the following comment:
We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage and that’s what happened in my case.
No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience I went through.
The police have to police themselves. This is something I never would have expected to happen, but I’m also honored by the weight of it.
At a press conference on Tuesday, her attorney Karra Porter removed the possibility of legal action against potential defendants – such as police officers, university police and hospital security guards – stating ‘there will be no lawsuit’.
Porter hopes the discussion surrounding body camera footage will continue, which could also be beneficial to police officers.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Porter’s law firm, Christensen & Jensen, will now provide free legal services for those wishing to obtain body camera footage.
Officials from the University of Utah Hospital have released a statement in support of Alex, claiming they’ll now alter their procedures and training in regards to interactions between hospital staff and police officers.
Detective Payne was let go from his position after the incident, however, he’s now appealing his dismissal, claiming it was influenced by negative publicity.