After reading the news stories and watching the video of a nurse being arrested in Salt Lake City for refusing police requests to collect a blood sample from a patient, I wrote two blog posts defending the police.
The vast majority of television reporters, television commentators, print journalists, and people, expressed anger and outrage that police Detective Jeff Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbel for refusing to draw blood from a patient involved in a fatal vehicle accident.
No medical professionals, and no attorneys were willing to explain to everyone, that for the past 50 years it has been mandatory for police to collect blood samples from drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents. In many states this blood draw was mandatory, involuntary, and no warrant was required. This is a completely different law, than other laws that apply to DUI cases. In a vehicle accident with a fatality, it is a vehicular homicide/manslaughter investigation.
No medical professionals came forward, and no attorneys came forward to explain that the blood draw that police Detective Jeff Payne had requested, without a warrant or patient consent, was what the police and hospitals have been doing for the past 50 years in cases of fatal vehicle accidents. I think that this is very despicable, that medical professionals and attorneys hate the police so much, that they will not even admit what the law and the procedure has been.
I read an article today, that this hospital in Salt Lake City, the University Hospital, has looked into this incident, and has announced some changes. The University Hospital did admit that all of the police officers present during this incident, and all of the hospital security guards present during this incident, believed that a warrant or patient consent was not required from the patient involved in a fatal vehicle accident. This group included approximately three police officers, and approximately three hospital security guards.
None of the police officers objected, and none of the hospital security guards objected when police Detective Jeff Payne arrested nurse Alex Wubbel for continuing to refuse to collect blood from the patient for one hour, because they all believed that the police detective was legally allowed to arrest nurse Wubbel for interfering with a police investigation. Detective Jeff Payne was instructed by his supervisor to arrest nurse Wubbel if she continued to refuse to collect a blood sample.
The University Hospital made an announcement that nurses will no longer come in contact with law enforcement, and that law enforcement will not be permitted to interfere with patient care. From the article that I read, it said that the hospital has made changes in what it will allow police officers to do at the hospital.
In reading and watching what happened at the University Hospital, I already had the impression that the hospital believed that they were such a large facility, that they could tell the police what the police were permitted to do. I believe that this conflict with the police had been brewing ever since the hospital began to feel that they were so large, that they were their own jurisdiction, and that their rules governed what was allowed on their private property.
I have seen this before, and I believe that this is the case, that the doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators have come to the conclusion that the University Hospital is private property, and that they determine what can and can not be done on their property. This is completely not true, and the sooner that the University Hospital personnel are made aware of this, the better.
On privately owned property, that is open to the public, there are limits on what the property owner can control. I will give some examples:
- A large facility like a football stadium, arena, amusement park, shopping mall, or hospital that is open to the public, can not say, we do not allow law enforcement, or we do not allow law enforcement to carry firearms on the premises, or we do not allow law enforcement to arrest people on the premises, or we do not allow law enforcement to enforce certain laws on the premises. This has been tried by different facilities, and the courts have ruled on the side of law enforcement and public safety.
- If law enforcement sees someone who has an outstanding arrest warrant in a hospital, they may delay the arrest until that person has had treatment if necessary, but a hospital is not a neutral no-arrest zone.
- In a hospital, a doctor, nurse, or administrator is not going to tell a police officer what the law is, no more than a shopping mall manager is going to tell a police officer what the law is, or a professional sports team owner is going to tell a police officer what the law is.
- In a hospital, a police officer is going to ask a nurse about a patient, or other questions, and a hospital administrator is not going to stop a police officer from asking a nurse questions, no more than a college dormitory manager is going to keep a police officer from asking questions to a college student, or a circus owner is going to keep a police officer from asking questions to a clown.
The University Hospital administrators and personnel have got to get out of their minds that they are a sovereign territory, where the police have no authority. This is just as insane as the cults of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, the Mormon polygamists of Jeff Sessions, or the Free Men Malitia.