The nation watched in horror this week video out of Utah of a nurse being roughly arrested simply for doing her job and refusing to draw blood illegally from an unconscious patient who had not provided consent as a detective with the Salt Lake City Police Department tried to obtain patient’s blood without a warrant.
The incident happened on July 26th when Detective Jeff Payne, a member of the Salt Lake City Police Department, entered a hospital in Salt Lake City and demanded Nurse Alex Wubbels draw blood from an unconscious patient. After looking up the protocol, Wubbels realized she legally could not do the procedure the police were demanding her to perform.
“I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do. That’s all,” Wubbels told the officers on the body camera video.
The Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that blood can only be drawn from drivers with probable cause, with a warrant.
Nurse Wubbels showed the detective the guidelines the hospital had written with the help of the police department for such procedures stipulating that the patient must be under arrest, give consent or the police department must have a warrant for blood samples to be taken from a patient. After growing frustrated with the nurse, the Detective told the nurse he’s had enough and forced her out of the hospital and arrested her for “interfering with an investigation”.
The blood was to be taken from William Gray, a reserve police officer that was working his full-time job as truck driver. A suspect in a separate incident was being chased by a Utah State trooper, and jumped the median into oncoming traffic. Mr. Gray was severely injured and the subject being pursued passed away from injuries sustained in the head-on collision. Rigby Police Chief Sam Tower released a statement thanking the nurse for standing up for the patient’s rights.
Detective Payne has been placed on administrative leave according to the Washington Post. In other words, he’s on paid vacation.
A second officer has been placed on administrative leave as well, according to Fox News.
Wubbels has been released released and no charges were filed.
Today in this country however, we are seeing a dangerous trend of over use of power. If a nurse can be detained for doing her job and following the law, what’s next? What’s so extreme about saying NO I will NOT take someone’s blood from them while they’re unconscious without a warrant? If we can’t defend those in their most vulnerable state, who can we defend?
The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution states the following:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This important part of our founding documents, clearly states that people, their property and all personal belongings are safe from search and seizure, unless a warrant signed by a judge is presented. Clearly a part of one’s own body falls within the confines of the 4th Amendment.
Charge Nurse Wubbels is a hero for taking a stand.
Ron Paul once said, “Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong”. We need more patriots like Nurse Alex Wubbell, that are willing to take stand. We never know when it’s going to be our friends and loved ones that are put in a similar situation. I hope that this incident will open our eyes. A detective arresting a medical professional because she refused to remove an unconscious person’s blood is nothing less than tyranny, and must not be allowed.
Police lives do matter. The lives and rights of the innocents they’re charged with protecting matter, too. In fact, they’re the reason for the police in the first place. But it’s all of our responsibilities to protect the rights of our neighbor and speak out when those rights are being infringed upon.