Police, nurses discuss new policies regarding officer/hospital staff interaction

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Police officers and nurses came together Thursday afternoon to discuss new protocol regarding officer and hospital staff interaction.

This comes after an on-duty University of Utah Hospital nurse was forcibly arrested in July for refusing a Salt Lake City police officer’s blood draw request on an unconscious patient.

When video of the arrest was released, it gained national attention. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown fired the arresting officer and demoted another officer involved in the incident.  

Aimee McClean, President of Utah Nurses Association, Chief Brown, and Chief Kevin Thacker from the Valley Police Association discussed the partnership between the organizations in finding a path to more positive interactions between nurses and law enforcement.

McLean said the code of ethics for nurses “requires us to be patient advocates which then demands that we speak for patients who cannot speak for the themselves. “

McLean called the video of Nurse Alex Wubbels’ arrest “alarming.” “Alex was advocating for her unconscious patient as her professional code of ethic demands,” said McLean.

Following the incident, McLean says Chief Brown contacted the Utah Nurses Association to seek its input on a policy to guide officers when they are in hospital as a part of their police duties.

“We greatly value this opportunity to collaborate with the Salt Lake City Police Department and to develop a policy that clarifies the work of the police and helps nurses who provide direct care to patients know what to anticipate when working with law enforcement and their inquires when they’re in their hospitals. We believe this policy will provide guidance for both groups of professionals, enhancing our teamwork between law enforcement and nursing,” said McLean.

The new protocol was developed in partnership with Utah Nurses Association and the Valley Police Alliance. Watch the full statement made by McLean, Chief Brown and Chief Thacker via the video below.

Read the full text on the new protocol here

Karra Porter, Alex Wubbels’ attorney, released a statement regarding the Utah Nurses Association-Salt Lake City Police Department policy announced Thursday:

“Alex is very grateful for the support she has received from the Utah Nurses Association.  The UNA has been actively working to protect nurses throughout the valley since learning of this incident.  I’m not sure the officers involved would have followed this policy, since they didn’t seem to care about the policy already in place between the Hospital and Salt Lake City Police.  If followed, however, a policy like this should reduce the risk of future incidents.”

“The only entity that does not appear to be addressing needed policy changes is University Police/hospital security.  Chief Brophy has admitted that no investigation was ever undertaken, despite the fact that a University Police officer physically assisted in the illegal arrest.  Hospital security not only ignored the assault of their co-worker but helped Detective Payne drag Alex outside by hitting the open-door button.”

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