More Support For Detective Jeff Payne Of Salt Lake City, Utah

Television news reporters, television commentators, newspaper journalists, and ordinary people continue to vilify Salt Lake City Police Detective Jeff Payne, for his arrest of a hospital emergency room nurse after her continued refusal to collect a blood sample from a patient.

In my previous blog post, I explained that it has been the practice of hospitals and law enforcement in the United States for the past 50 years, to obtain blood samples from drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents.  Unlike suspicion of DUI cases, where drivers commonly refuse a breathalyzer test or a blood draw, many states require mandatory blood draws from drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents, because it is a homicide/manslaughter investigation.

In collecting evidence for a vehicular homicide/manslaughter investigation, time is of the essence in collecting a blood sample.  The blood sample needs to be taken as soon as possible following the accident, in order to determine the presence and blood level of alcohol, legal drugs, or illegal drugs.

Following a fatal vehicle accident, it is likely that there will be both a criminal court case and a civil court case.  In a court case, both the innocence or guilt of each driver involved, could hinge on the results of the blood tests.  In other words, the patient that the hospital emergency room nurse refused to draw blood from, his innocence might only have been proved by the blood sample that she refused to take.

Part of what I wrote in my previous blog post was, that you can not have emergency room nurses trying to discern in their own mind, how evidence is going to be collected, how the vehicle accident is going to be investigated, the guilt or innocence of the patient, and the legality of police procedure.  Who is the appropriate person to make decisions on the collection of evidence, a police detective with 20 to 30 years of experience in collecting evidence, or an emergency room nurse with 0 years of work experience collecting evidence?

Would it be appropriate for the police detective to direct the emergency room nurse on what kind of pain medication should be administered, what IV solution should be administered, to take X-Rays, to take a CT-scan, to put the patient on oxygen?  No?  Why wouldn’t it be appropriate for the police detective to tell the nurse how to do her job?  It would not be appropriate for the police detective to tell the nurse how to medically treat the patient, or interfere with how she decided to medically treat the patient, because the nurse has much more education, training, and work experience in medical treatment, than the police detective.

Conversely, the nurse should not be trying to direct police procedure.  The police detective knows things that the nurse doesn’t know, and we don’t know.  Besides the police detective knowing that the patient’s innocence might depend on obtaining the patient’s blood sample, there are other things the police detective might know, that the nurse doesn’t know.  There are hundreds of possibilities that the nurse does not know.

Was there an illegal narcotic or alcohol discovered at the scene of the commercial truck accident that were collected as evidence, and it must now be determined that the commercial truck driver was not impaired.  Was there more than enough time for the commercial truck driver to avoid the collision, but he did not?  Was the truck driver traveling at an unusually high speed or low speed?  Was the truck driver currently suspended from driving because of a DUI?  There hundreds of reasons why the police detective wanted to make sure to get the hospital patient’s blood sample, that the emergency room nurse did not know.

What would not be very commendable, would be a police detective who gave up, and left the hospital without getting the commercial truck driver’s blood sample, because it was too much trouble.

I am very disappointed that no experienced medical doctor, experienced emergency room nurse, knowledgeable attorney, or law enforcement expert, has not vehemently explained to the media and corrected the media, that for many years, and in many states blood draws are mandatory for drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents.  Consent does not have to be granted, and a warrant does not have to be obtained.  The blood sample is used both to prove the innocence of the drivers, or possible guilt.  It is a vehicular homicide investigation or manslaughter investigation, not a DUI case.

A fifty year old police detective, with 20 to 30 years of law enforcement experience, should not have to debate, argue, and plead his case with an emergency room nurse in order to get a blood draw from a patient.  The hospital had already taken a blood draw from the patient for their own tests and analysis.  The nurse could have documented that she refused to collect the blood sample, but did so under duress.  The hospital could have taken legal action afterwards.

The police detective tried to resolve the dispute over the nurse’s refusal to collect blood from the patient, for one hour.  The police detective was frustrated that it came to the point that he had to arrest the nurse for her continued refusal to draw blood, this is what his supervisor instructed him to do.  What added to the police detective’s frustration, was the nurse trying to get away, struggle against being handcuffed, and screaming, “Stop, stop, what are you doing!  Why are you doing this to me!”

I believe that it is people’s hatred of law enforcement that makes them express outrage over Detective Payne.  The police detective did not use excessive force, or harm the nurse in any way.  The police detective did not use angry language, threatening language, or abusive language at any time.

I think that it was wrong for the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Salt Lake City to not say, “We are going to determine whether the law in Utah currently requires mandatory blood draws in fatal vehicle accidents.  Mandatory blood draws have been the procedure in place for many years.  Though the arrest of emergency room nurse Alex Wubbel was regrettable and something we never want to happen, the police detective involved may have been carrying out orders from his supervisor, which may or may not have been a correct application of the laws regarding interference with a police investigation.  We will look into this matter with the hospital, and inform the public as to our findings once all the facts have been examined.”

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7 thoughts on “More Support For Detective Jeff Payne Of Salt Lake City, Utah

    1. I suspect this matter will result at minimum a civil suit against Jeff Payne and hopefully culminate with substantial judgement in favor of the nurse. This serves as a reminder to all officers that they also must follow the law not interpret it.

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      1. G Foster,

        I don’t know if most people or many people will be able to understand this. When a law enforcement officer believes that he is following the law, and he can demonstrate that he believed that he was following the law, such a lawfully asking the nurse for a blood sample to be collected, and lawfully arresting her for interfering with a police investigation, the courts have already determined and established legal precedents, that the law enforcement officer is not guilty of negligence, misconduct, or a crime.

        I don’t know if most people or many people will be able to understand why the courts have already determined that when a police officer believes that he is following the law, he can not be prosecuted for a crime. It is this way because no police officers are completely aware of every law and every change in the law. Lawyers and Judges have to go and look up the law to see what it currently is, just to make sure what it is.

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  1. The officers of both the Salt Lake City PD and the University of Utah PD conspired to unlawfully obtain blood from the patient and committed aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery on a health professional and commission of felonies while in possession of firearms. Their agencies have offered semi-apologies but have not filed criminal charges against anyone. Although Payne was fired by the ambulance service, he remains a licensed paramedic in Utah. The hospital has now limited police contact with staff, but what are they do to if a crime is taking place? Clearly they can not depend on either of these corrupt agencies, so they’ll have to call the Highway Patrol or Fish and Game. Or perhaps they can contract with another agency to provide police services. There’s an old Chinese saying that a fish rots from the head, and all of the involved officers need to be arrested and the chiefs must be fired. As a physician I take this matter seriously. Nurse Wubbels can file civil lawsuits against SLCPD and UofUPD, the hospital and the officers individually. Cops think they have immunity to suit, but that is not true if they act maliciously or violate someone’s legal rights, as they clearly did, and their personal financial devastation would send a message to other cops.

    You seem to be unaware that the US Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that a warrant or patient consent is required for blood draws.

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    1. Dr. Bryant,

      Without even looking you up on the internet, your statements are so far from being logical, sound, correct, or defendable, that I can only assume that you are a doctor of chiropractic, which takes about two years of questionable education. This is probably something that needs to be changed, to where it is unlawful for chiropractors to have the title of doctor.

      1) The University security guards had nothing to do with this, other than being present in the emergency room, and they are not police officers, or a police department, they are security guards.
      2) Though law enforcement and police may be mistaken in making some arrests, if they are enforcing a law such as arresting someone for interfering with an investigation, this will never ever be considered kidnapping under the law. And what makes your statements even more outlandish, is that you state that this was done while the police were in possession of firearms. By making such a statement, you do not appear to be of sound mind. I would like to see you make statements like this in front a medical review board or in a court of law, and see how quickly they would determine that you were unfit to be licensed or not mentally competent.
      3) You should offer to work for this hospital, and share some of your ideas with them, such as calling Fish & Game if they have an emergency.

      I looked you up, and you may be an anesthesiologist, good God! I hope nobody reads your comment.

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      1. I am an MD, not a chiropractor. You seem to thrive on ad hominem attacks. I will not get down into the gutter with you.

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