Many people were shocked when they first saw the video of a police officer bullying and arresting a nurse for simply doing her job. In the video, the nurse protected an unconscious patient in critical condition from having his blood drawn – something that violated hospital and HIPAA protocols.
As the rogue officer carried the innocent nurse away, it turned out that the unconscious patient she was protecting was none other than a reserve police officer himself, according to a Facebook post from the Rigby Police Department.
“On July 26th of this year, one of our reserve officers, William Gray was the victim in a horrific accident in northern Utah while working his full-time job as a truck driver…Officer Gray was flown to the University of Utah’s burn unit where he remains under their watchful, professional and competent care,” reads the Facebook post.
It continues, saying that “Within the first hours of Officer Gray being admitted into the burn unit, an incident occurred between hospital staff and an officer from an agency in Utah who was assisting with the investigation.”
The picture becomes clearer when watching the details in the video footage. The officer was there to collect a blood sample as part of their investigation. The nurse, Alex Wubbels, calmly informed the officer that according to hospital policy, they needed patient consent for such a request.
Since the patient was unconscious, the nurse suggested that the detectives needed an electronic warrant or place her patient under arrest to gain access to their blood.
The officer didn’t take this kindly, and after raising his voice to repeat his demands, he ended up arresting the nurse and unlawfully detaining her. The police officer who arrested her, Jeff Payne, had been in communication with his supervisor over what action to take. Considering the time-sensitive nature of the blood sample with the staff for over an hour, his boss eventually told him to arrest the nurse if she kept interfering.
Since then, the officers in question have been placed on administrative leave as their actions are investigated. It’s scary to imagine that a nurse who was simply doing her job could be arrested and detained by officers for doing nothing wrong. As the hospital security stood by the sidelines, avoiding the risk of an altercation with the officers, the heroic nurse was left to fend for herself.
“The Rigby Police Department would like to thank the nurse involved and hospital staff for standing firm and protecting Officer Gray’s rights as a patient and victim. Protecting the rights of others is truly a heroic act,” continued the Facebook post.
As both the mayor and police chief of Salt Lake City expressed their apologies to the nurse for her treatment, Wubbels has appeared on a number of public television stations to talk about her situation and spread awareness of this mistreatment.
“It is important to remember that Officer Gray is the victim in this horrible event, and that at no time was he under any suspicion of wrongdoing,” concluded the Rigby Police Departments message. “As he continues to heal, we would ask that his family be given privacy, respect, and prayers for continued recovery and peace.”
Wubbels’ effort should be applauded. Hopefully, other nurses who demonstrate the character and courage over their patients in a similar situation will be recognized and thanked–not handled like a criminal as Wubbels was.