Nursing community rallies around the nurse whose arrest went viral

Last week, a disturbing video of a nurse in Utah being arrested for refusing to draw an unconscious patient’s blood went viral.

Now, nurses everywhere are sharing their solidarity with Alex Wubbels with hashtags like #IStandWithAlex and #NursesUnite.

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Many medical professionals expressed that if they had been in her situation, they would have handled it the same way.

Others noted that the police officer who arrested Wubbles might have been interfering with the hospital’s policy and privacy laws, also known as HIPAA laws.

According to CNN, Wubbels had presented Detective Jeff Payne with proof of the hospital’s policy regarding drawing blood from a patient in these kinds of situations; unless the patient was under arrest, the police had a warrant from a judge, or the patient or the patient’s family consented, the hospital could not share the test information with police. The patient in question did not fall under any of these categories, but the police asked for his blood to be drawn anyway. When Wubbels refused, citing the hospital’s policy, she was forcefully arrested.

As a result of the video and its fallout, Detective Payne has been put on administrative leave, and the University of Utah hospital has changed its policy regarding how police and nurses interact. Hospital officials announced law enforcement officers will be sent to health supervisors “who are highly trained on rules and laws,” and the meetings will not happen in patient care areas.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry. I feel a lot of things. And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe. A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly,” Wubbels said in an interview soon after the incident.

Wubbels has not yet filed a lawsuit, however, her attorney Karra Porter told CNN’s News Day it’s not out of the question.

“I think we’re going to give everyone involved an opportunity to do the right thing without having to be dragged into court to do it,” Porter said.

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