Protecting patient privacy and rights

My darling bride (of 38 years, 9 months and 16 days) is a registered nurse, working at a hospital, so it’s possible that I’m a bit prejudiced in this case. From The Washington Post:

A Utah nurse’s violent arrest puts patient-consent law — and police conduct — in the spotlight

By Amy B Wang and Derek Hawkins | September 3, 2017 | 1:33 PM

The videotaped arrest of a nurse at a Salt Lake City hospital — after she told police, correctly, that they weren’t allowed to draw blood from an unconscious patient — has been roundly condemned by national nursing organizations, Utah officials and even the local police department.

The July 26 incident, captured by an officer’s body camera, was made public last week after the nurse came forward. Since then, several groups have echoed the nurse’s outrage, calling for greater consequences for the police detective in question and demanding increased awareness of patient-consent laws.

In the footage, Jeff Payne, a detective with the Salt Lake City Police Department, confronts Alex Wubbels, a nurse in the burn unit at the University of Utah Hospital, over her polite but firm insistence that police could not collect blood samples from a badly injured patient. Payne didn’t have a warrant, Wubbels pointed out. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent.

Wubbels cited hospital policy in the video — showing Payne a printout of the rules just before he abruptly arrests her — but her actions also were in line with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which explicitly ruled last year that blood can be drawn from drivers only for probable cause, with a warrant.

In the moment, none of that seemed to matter to Payne, who snapped, seized hold of Wubbels, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.

Wubbels, who was not criminally charged, played the footage at a news conference Thursday with her attorney. They called on police to rethink their treatment of hospital workers and said they had not ruled out legal action.

There’s more at the link; the incident is described here. And the video is below the fold:

Let’s be clear about one thing. While Detective Payne has been put on paid leave, the truth is that he fired himself that day. Oh, there will be some sort of investigation, and Mr Payne may well ‘choose’ to resign before the investigation is completed, but he’s done, finished, kaput, out of a job. Lt James Tracy, the shift supervisor who (allegedly) told Detective Payne to arrest Miss Wubbels, will also find himself unemployed if he did, in fact, give such instructions.

The other officers present will count themselves as being very fortunate indeed if all they receive are administrative punishments; they should have stopped Mr Payne before the situation escalated as it did.

Police officers have a tough job to do, and it brings them into daily contact with the scum of the earth. But they cannot allow that to change their interactions with law-abiding citizens, and Mr Payne failed in that situation. He will learn that the hard way.

3 Comments

  1. the cop and his superior behind bars for a long time and not even allowed to work the door at wal mart for ever
    the other two fired and bared from police and security work

    • I would have no problem with Mr Payne working at WalMart after his prison term is up; ’tis much better that he find gainful employment somewhere than to languish on welfare. But I suspect that he will never again work in law enforcement. Perhaps he might someday find employment as a court bailiff or prison guard?

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