Local nurse says Utah nurse acted accordingly

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COLUMBIA- In a video that went viral Alex Wubbels, a Utah nurse, was arrested for refusing to let a detective draw blood from an unconscious patient.

Some nurses in Missouri are upset with how Wubbels was treated. The Missouri Nurses Association & American Nurses Association (ANA) sent KOMU 8 News this statement:

The Missouri Nurses Association & American Nurses Association (ANA) are outraged that a registered nurse was handcuffed and arrested by a police officer for following her hospital’s policy and the law, and expects the Salt Lake City Police Department to conduct a full investigation, make amends to the nurse, and take action to prevent future abuses.

 It is unacceptable that a nurse should be treated in this way for following her professional duty to advocate on behalf of the patient as well as following the policies of her employer and the law. According to the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, “the nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient”, which is exactly what Nurse Wubbels was doing. Unfortunately, nurses often are victims of violence on the job.

 Nurses and police officers work collaboratively in many communities.  It is imperative that law enforcement and nursing professionals respect each other and resolve conflicts through dialogue and due process.

Pam Evans-Smith, a registered nurse and professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing, said Wubbels was doing what all nurses are required to do. 

"Anytime that a patient is unable to consent, which is what I believe she was arguing in the video, he [the patient] was unconscious or not able to consent to having labs drawn, we are the patient's advocate."

Evans-Smith said she was disappointed in the way law enforcement handled Wubbels when she refused to draw the unconscious patient's blood for them. 

"My initial reaction was anger, she was clearly trying to tell the officer, very respectfully, why she couldn't do it, what she needed him to do in order for her to be able to obtain the sample for him."

Evans-Smith wants patients to know that HIPAA requires patient consent, a court-ordered subpoena or warrant to release patient information, lab drawn samples included.

KOMU 8 News reached out to the sheriff's department for a law enforcement perspective on the occurrence but the department declined to comment.