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Utah hospital orders cops to leave nurses alone

A Utah hospital is banning police officers from contact with nurses after an officer snapped and arrested a nurse who refused his demand to draw blood from an unconscious patient, citing state law.

The incident took place July 26, but the video of Det. Jeff Payne demanding that the nurse be arrested just went viral.

See the incident:

Now officials at the University of Utah hospital say they will not allow officers to contact nurses directly.

Chief nursing officer Margaret Pearce announced at a news conference on Monday that police no longer will be permitted in patient-care areas.

It was in a burn unit where Payne confronted nurse Alex Wubbels, demanding that she draw the blood immediately.

He grew increasingly volatile as she explained she could not without a warrant, patient permission or an announced intent to arrest. The officer finally lost his cool and handcuffed her.

Gordon Crabtree, interim chief executive of the hospital, described the officer’s actions as troubling.

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He said the nurse should be praised for “putting her own safety at risk” and promised “this will not happen again.”

Pearce explained officers now will be required to deal with “house supervisors” instead of nurses when they have any request. The move will mean nurses can devote their attention to patient care and leave dealing with police requests to others.

The incident has drawn nationwide attention through the video, which shows Payne persisting in demanding a blood sample from an unconscious truck driver even though he had neither permission from the patient nor a warrant, as required by state law.

Just days earlier, the police department revealed two workers were placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted but declined to release details.

Wubbels explained in an interview with NBC News that it appeared Payne was angry even when he arrived. She said she felt betrayed by both the Salt Lake City police and university security, whose officers were on duty at the hospital.

WND reported Friday that the nurse still was waiting for an apology from the officer more than a month after the incident.

“I was being bullied and nobody was willing to speak up for me,” Wubbels told NBC News. “That is one of the main points of this whole issue.”

Wubbels, a former Olympic athlete, told the network she received an apology from Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

But neither the officer who arrested her nor his supervisor have apologized for what Wubbels called the “disgrace they put upon themselves,” NBC said.

The bodycam footage of nearly 20 minutes shows Payne demanding Wubbels draw the blood and ignoring her explanation of hospital protocol. The officer becomes increasingly impatient and finally snaps.

“No, we’re done,” he demanded. “You’re under arrest, we’re going!”

He yanks her arms behind her and cuffs her before hauling her to the back of the patrol car.

Wubbels told NBC: “He was on a mission. I just knew that I was in the right.”

She wasn’t charged.

The nurse has been at the hospital since 2009, after competing in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics as an alpine skier.

The National Nurses United has expressed outrage, and Wubbels has criticized the officer’s actions as “not even civil.”

The officer wanted the patient’s blood sample because of an accident. The patient was driving a truck that collided with a vehicle whose driver was trying to escape from police.

The truck driver was unconscious when he was brought to the hospital, but the officers wanted the blood sample immediately.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported Payne claimed he was told by Lt. James Tracy, the watch commander, to arrest Wubbels for interference if she refused his demand.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the Constitution allows warrantless breath tests but not warrantless blood tests.

Payne identified the driver as William Gray, 43, of Rigby, Idaho.

The newspaper said Gray, a reserve police officer “was driving a semi north on State Road 89/91 near Sardine Canyon when a man fleeing from the Utah Highway Patrol crashed a pickup truck into him headon, according to Logan police, who investigated the collision.”

The other driver, Marcos Torres, 26, died.