The University of Utah hospital has announced major policy changes after one of its nurses was arrested in late July for refusing to break the law at the orders of a Salt Lake City police detective.
Gordon Crabtree, interim CEO of the hospital, announced the changes publicly during a news conference on Monday, according to the Washington Post.
Crabtree praised the nurse, Alex Wubbles, for showing “grace under fire” and said she was “deeply troubled” by the video. She also vowed that what happened to Wubbles "will not happen again." In response, the hospital implemented a number of policy changes days after the confrontation:
- Police officers will no longer be allowed in patient-care areas.
- Officers will no longer deal with directly with nurses. Instead, they will speak only with senior nursing supervisors going forward.
- Nurses will no longer need to be aware of law enforcement policies.
The changes are to not only to ensure that another confrontation with law enforcement is prevented in the future, but to ensure that nurses and care staff can solely devote their time and attention to patients.
On July 26, SLC police detective Jeff Payne arrested Wubbles after she refused to give him a blood vial of one of her patients, citing the fact that Payne neither had the patient's consent nor a warrant. Payne manhandled Wubbles when arresting her. Other officers looked on and did nothing. Wubbles was shortly released from custody and never charged with a crime.
Wubbles obtained a copy of the body cam footage of the confrontation and decided to release it last Thursday because she felt the city's response to the incident wasn't adequate. At the time, it only included removing Payne from the police department's blood-draw unit.
Wubbles said she doesn't plan on suing on the city, and she only wants to help prevent what happened to her from happening in the future. But if the city doesn't take additional measures, Wubbles said she would have no option but to sue.
After national outrage erupted, two SLC police officers were placed on administrative leave, including Payne. The other officer was not named. The police chief and mayor also apologized to Wubbles in a statement and during a news conference.
Wubbles speaks out
Wubbles spoke out for the first time on Monday since the news conference last week. She told CNN's Alisyn Camerota that she was "scared to death" during her ordeal with Payne. She also said she feels betrayed by the police.
"I was obviously very frightened, and I think since this has happened I’ve been able to sort of surmise that I feel betrayed," she said. "I feel betrayed by the police officers, I feel betrayed by the university police and security."