The Utah police officer who was at the center of an investigation after he arrested a nurse who refused his order to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient has been fired.
Jeff Payne, a detective with the Salt Lake City Police Department, was captured on body camera arresting Alex Wubbels after she could not do a blood draw from the patent without the patient’s consent and without a warrant. The man had been injured and was unconscious after a car accident, USA Today reported.
Payne handcuffed and held Wubbels in a cruiser, but she was let go and not charged after about 20 minutes, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Payne had been with the police department for 27 years and says he wants his job back despite having enough time to retire.
His attorney says the national spotlight led to his client’s firing.
“I’m really frustrated by the way this case has been processed,” attorney Greg Skordas told the Tribune. “I do think that Salt Lake City did a fair job of doing the investigation, and I think that their findings are, by and large, accurate. But I think the chief reacted to a lot of public pressure and scrutiny in making a decision that doesn’t fit the conduct.”
Skordas believes that Payne would have been disciplined but would not have lost his job if it wasn’t for the national news coverage.
Lt. James Tracy, the watch commander at the time of the incident, was also originally placed on administrative leave. The lieutenant was demoted to police officer, the Tribune reported.
Hospital policy has changed since the events that sparked national attention.
Now police can only speak with senior nurse supervisors, USA Today reported.
“To our nurses and staff -- this will not happen again,” Gordon Crabtree, CEO of University of Utah Hospital told, USA Today. “Nurse Wubbels was placed in an unfair and unwarranted position (and) her actions were nothing less than exemplary.”
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