Congressional Record Statement in Support of Utah Nurse, Alex Wubbels, Who was Arrested Unlawfully
THE HONORABLE EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 5, 2017
Mr. Speaker, I rise to give brief remarks about Alex Wubbels, the emergency room nurse at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah who was arrested for doing her job on July 26. As a non-practicing registered nurse, this story shocked and upset me. I cannot fathom being handcuffed in my workplace for following hospital policy and the law.
Ms. Wubbels stood her ground and remained calm during the encounter, which was caught on body camera footage. Hospital policy requires that the patient be under arrest, the police have a warrant, or the patient consent in order to draw blood. Since none of those requirements were met, Ms. Wubbels refused to draw the patient’s blood, with the support of several managers, administrators, and her supervisor.
While I understand that the Salt Lake City Police Department is currently taking steps to prevent incidents like this, I find it unconscionable that an officer of the law felt it appropriate to treat a health professional in this manner. I do believe that implementation of new hospital procedure, such as requiring law enforcement officials to check in to the front desk of the hospital, are positive and I encourage other hospitals to adopt similar policies.
Ms. Wubbels remained focused on providing care to her patient and ultimately, no charges were filed against her. She is encouraging health professionals and law enforcement to use this incident to “open a civic dialogue.” As a nurse, I am proud to stand with individuals like Ms. Wubbels who turn negative events into positive learning experiences, always put patient well-being above all else, and stand their ground in the face of adversity.