Utah Nurse Arrested for Refusing to Draw Blood from Unconscious Man for DUI Test

On July 26, 2017, a nurse from Salt Lake City, Utah was arrested after she refused to allow a blood draw from an unconscious patient. The patient was seriously injured in a crash, and when Detective Jeff Payne asked the nurse, Alex Wubbels, to draw blood for a DUI test. After she refused to take the unconscious patient’s blood for the test, Wubbels was handcuffed and pulled from the hospital, where she was then arrested and put into the officer’s car.

Wubbels says she was bullied by Detective Payne for protecting the rights of her patient. Later, Wubbels and her attorney released a video recording of the arrest, where she was dragged out of the hospital by Payne after refusing to cooperate by denying the blood draw.

In the video recording taken from the police body-camera on Detective Payne, Wubbels can be seen offering the officer a calm explanation of why she could not give him a blood sample. She said that, in accordance with a 2016 Supreme Court ruling, she could not take a patient’s blood sample without the expressed consent of the patient or a warrant from the officer. The patient had been severely injured in a car accident and was not conscious during the incident, and could therefore not provide consent.

In response to the video, Police Chief Mike Brown released a statement saying he was “alarmed” by what he saw. The police chief and the mayor also released an apology and stated that they would be changing department policies to reflect the rules Wubbels was following at the time of the incident. Detective Payne was put on paid leave pending the investigation of the incident.

If you or someone you love was arrested for refusing a blood test, our DUI lawyers may be able to help. Contact DUIHeroes and ask about a free case evaluation.