Utah nurse gets $500,000 settlement

The Utah nurse who was violently arrested in July for doing her job when police illegally demanded blood from an unconscious patient in her care, has reached a $500,000 settlement with Salt Lake City and the university that runs the hospital where she works.

A detective’s decision to put nurse Alex Wubbels in handcuffs cost him his job and resulted in a $500,000 civil settlement.

Alex Wubbels said that she will donate part of the settlement money to a local nurses union and apportion some of it to finance legal aid for people trying to obtain body camera footage from police.

Wubbels was arrested July 26, 2017, for preventing police from unlawfully obtaining blood from her patient at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

At the time, Wubbels told police that drawing blood would be a violation of hospital policy, which required that the patient be under arrest, or had given consent, or that the police were in possession of a warrant.

The patient was the victim in a car crash and was not under arrest, but was unconscious and therefore unable to consent, and the police had not obtained a warrant.

The arresting officers proceeded to forcibly put her in handcuffs and placed the nurse into the front passenger seat of their cruiser.

The hospital policy reflects the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in Birchfield v. North Dakota and had been agreed to by the police department a year before Wubbels was arrested.

“We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage and that’s what happened in my case,” said Wubbels. “No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience that I went through.”

Wubbels was later released without charge and the arresting officer, Detective Jeff Payne, was fired on October 10, and his supervisor on scene, Lt. James Tracy, was demoted from Lieutenant to officer.

The entire incident was captured on police body cameras and hospital surveillance cameras and the video has gone viral.

The incident prompted public apologies from Salt Lake City Chief of Police Mike Brown and Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

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