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Alex Wubbels

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Alexandra "Alex" Luise Shaffer Wubbels (b. January 23rd, 1976) is an American Head Nurse and former Alpine skier who competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics. [1] She was the subject of a video that went viral in September 2017 where she is arrested after refusing to give a Police officer blood vials of an unconscious patient. [2]

 

Background 

Early life 

Born and raised in Aspen, Colorado, ever since she was a young child she had the tenacity to be into Skiing sports. [3]

 

Career

Skiing

In the year 1990, she moved to Utah from Colorado to ski and be educated at the Rowmark Academy of Salt Lake City. She was later named to the U.S. Ski Team. [4]

 

1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics

After working hard to be a part of the US Olympic team, she took part in the competitions. [5]

 

Professional Nurse 

After her skiing career, she went on to become a nurse. She is now the Head Nurse and Charge Nurse at the University of Utah Hospital. She is a part of several departments including the University Hospital's Burn Unit. [6]

 

Unlawful Arrest By Detective Jeff Payne

On July 26, 2017, as Wubbels and her team of other supervisors treated an unconscious Truck Driver, she was arrested by veteran Salt Lake City police officer Jeff Payne. She was arrested after refusing to give Payne vials of blood that he needed for an investigation because she said he did not have a warrant or meet any of the mandatory criteria needed for taking blood. [7]

 
The incident was made public via the officers' body cameras. The arresting officer demanded blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient, but she stated that doing so would be a violation of the HIPAA law. She refused to allow the officer to draw blood, and the officer proceeded to violently put her in handcuffs and in into the back of his cruiser. [8]

 

The truck driver was sedated and in a comatose state when he arrived at the hospital, so, therefore, he was not in a state to sign his consent. The truck driver is identified as 43-year-old William Gray, a reserve officer in the Rigby, Idaho, Police Department, who suffered burns during a July 26 crash in Cache County. The truck driver was severely burned in a head-on crash with a vehicle that was fleeing from police in Cache County and crossed into on-coming traffic. The driver of the fleeing vehicle was killed. [9]

 

Payne, a veteran Salt Lake police officer, was sent to the hospital by another police agency to get vials of blood for the investigation. But because the patient was not a suspect in the crash nor faced potential criminal charges, because he was unconscious and unable to give consent, and because the officer did not have a warrant, Wubbels — one of the supervisors that night — did not allow him to draw blood. [10]  

 

In the body camera video, Wubbels is seen on her phone with numerous supervisors advising them of what was happening and getting confirmation about the policy. Payne sounds impatient in the video and continues to threaten to arrest her. [11]

 

The American Nurses Association's President Pam Cipriano responded with the following statement regarding the incident:[23]

It is outrageous and unacceptable that a nurse should be treated in this way for following her professional duty to advocate on behalf of the patient as well as following the policies on her employer and the law. Nurse Wubbels did everything right. It is imperative that law enforcement and nursing professionals respect each other and resolve conflicts through dialogue and due process.

Petition 

A petition to raise awareness of the dangers of front line staff in healthcare was started by Change.org. As a nurse who was simply following protocol and protecting her patient, Alex was stuck in a rock and a hard place and protected her patient. The petition will be sent to the Governor of Utah and Orrin Hatch, Senator. [12]

 

Personal Life

Alex Wubbels, whose maiden name is Shaffer, was a two-time Olympian in Alpine skiing, competing in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics. She credits the toughness she learned from being an Olympic athlete for getting her through the ordeal. [13]

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Created: 09/01/2017 05:01:02 PM UTC
Last Modified: 09/04/2017 01:26:46 PM UTC
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