The American Nurses Association (ANA) is outraged that a registered nurse was handcuffed and arrested by a police officer for following her hospital’s policy and the law, and is calling for the Salt Lake City Police Department to conduct a full investigation, make amends to the nurse, and take action to prevent future abuses.
The incident occurred July 26 at University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and video footage of the incident was recently released. Registered nurse Alex Wubbels was arrested after refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient who had been injured in a collision and was a patient on the burn unit.
According to the video, Nurse Wubbels shared details about the hospital’s policy with the police officers and consulted her supervisors in responding to the detective’s request. Wubbels cited the hospital’s policy, stating that blood could not be taken from an unconscious patient unless the patient is under arrest, a warrant had been issued for the blood draw, or the patient consents. The police officers stated that they had implied consent to get the blood sample and they believed that the hospital’s policy contravened their duty to enforce the law. However, “implied consent” has not been Utah law for more than a decade. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that warrantless blood tests go against privacy interests and public safety and therefore are not allowed.