Police Barred from Contact with Utah Hospital Nurses after Appalling Arrest

  1. The University of Utah Hospital, where a nurse was manhandled and arrested by police as she protected the legal rights of a patient, has imposed new restrictions on law enforcement, including barring officers from patient-care areas and from direct contact with nurses.
    The arrest and manhandling last month of Nurse Wubbels as she was trying to advocate for her patient caused a loud uproar from nurses and the general public. Now the police have been barred from patient-care areas in the Utah hospital where nurse Wubbels was the charge nurse on the day of her arrest. The police will now have to "deal directly with house supervisors when they have a request."

    On Friday, the police department [FONT=Georgia][COLOR=#1955a5]said[/COLOR][/FONT] two of its employees had been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation, but did not give details. A criminal investigation is underway, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill
    For more on this story go to Utah hospital bars police from contact with nurses after 'appalling' arrest.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   quiltynurse56
    I think this is a good move. Let the nurses give care while someone else deals with law enforcement.
  4. by   Mavrick
    Detective Payne needs a serious reassignment, like not being allowed to carry handcuffs or have the authority to use them. It was obvious from the body cam Nurse Wubbels was making a perfectly reasonable and legal response to an illegal request. That he did that to her while all the other officers stood by and watched is an incredible black mark on police everywhere.

    Police have gotten totally out of hand. I used to be a super advocate for officers. I "get" that they make split second decisions that may appear wrong with 20/20 retrospection but I had always assumed they were reasonable when there was no life-threatening emergency.

    No more. They done crossed the line messin' with a nurse in the hospital doing her JOB! I may represent one of the last groups (white male) to finally come around. Police departments best get this cleaned up as they are losing all credibility and respect.

    They thought their jobs were hard before .........
  5. by   JKL33
    Pulling out what I said from the other thread:

    Quote from JKL33
    I couldn't be happier that the hospital changed their policy back in August, and that they took a fairly hard stance, IMO. It was beginning to seem as if they were more interested in self-serving/self-preserving outcomes than in the ethical and lawful treatment of their employees.

    That said, I do wish they would've made different changes. There is really no reason to say that the police may not interact with any nurse, when instead they could've stopped with the policy being that ALL requests for information must be addressed to nursing administration. I fear their new declaration/rule will not be workable; it'll likely be bad for ED nurses, for sure. This "angry man" does not represent the many officers who are beyond respectful in their interactions with nurses. I have seen nurses be flat-out wrong about something and the officers carefully defer until the issue could be cleared up. EDs and law enforcement need to be able to work together without (figuratively) everyone's hands being tied behind their backs.

    I'm hoping this new rule is temporary for them. Having it as a temporary emergency rule/situation while things cool down a bit and a sensible policy can be worked out, may not be a bad idea in light of the incident in question. Wouldn't be surprised if they have a number of terrified and somewhat traumatized staff members on their hands.
    It won't work well long-term, and IMO is about 100% likely to have unforeseen consequences that are bad for ED nurses and patients. I hope it is a temporary "cool-down" rule.
  6. by   SobreRN
    Detective Payne needs to be fired and charged with assault/false imprisonment under color of authority. He needs to be used as an example of what not to do for all LEO trainees.
  7. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from SobreRN
    Detective Payne needs to be fired and charged with assault/false imprisonment under color of authority. He needs to be used as an example of what not to do for all LEO trainees.
    It is likely that this will happen. The FBI is now investigating his actions. He had apparently been told by a supervisor NOT to arrest the nurse. He disregarded that order, according to the news story I read, and may be charged with false imprisonment.

    Let's all hope that he loses his job and therefore his power to arrest anybody.
  8. by   morte
    Quote from Lil Nel
    It is likely that this will happen. The FBI is now investigating his actions. He had apparently been told by a supervisor NOT to arrest the nurse. He disregarded that order, according to the news story I read, and may be charged with false imprisonment.

    Let's all hope that he loses his job and therefore his power to arrest anybody.
    Losing his job, will not take away his right to arrest, he will simply find another dept to take him on. what he needs to lose is his Le CERT.
  9. by   canoehead
    I think this is a good move, and should be applied to hospitals in general. Of course, administration can make the appropriate exceptions. I've seen officers push their authority, interfere with patient care, and request nurses give protected information while making casual conversation. New nurses, or even old ones that don't notice, gossip their license away. Police can ask any questions, but newbies assume police will only ask about information they are entitled to...NOT TRUE. Police can also get incriminating information just standing outside the trauma room, or chatting with family. All perfectly acceptable methods for them, but not for the hospital/staff that's supposed to protect patient privacy.
  10. by   RNrhythm
    I like having the police and our security staff on my side and comfortable in my unit. Sure, this particular officer and this experience were both horrible and, yes, problems or confusion should be taken up with managers, BUT I do not like the idea of barring PD from patient care areas.
  11. by   herring_RN
    Quote from RNrhythm
    I like having the police and our security staff on my side and comfortable in my unit. Sure, this particular officer and this experience were both horrible and, yes, problems or confusion should be taken up with managers, BUT I do not like the idea of barring PD from patient care areas.
    I met nurses who worked for having a police officer assigned to the ER to protect staff, patients, and visitors.
    I posted about it here:
    Violence in Nursing
  12. by   offlabel
    This is paternalistic and unprofessional. The suggestion that nurses are unable to cope with the stress of dealing with other emergency professionals as a result of this one isolated rogue event is degrading to the profession as a whole. It reinforces the notion that because nursing is a primarily female profession, they have to be protected by reactionary fiat by administrators. And the hospital is using nurses to show the cops "who's boss".

    pathetic...
  13. by   Mulan
    Quote from offlabel
    This is paternalistic and unprofessional. The suggestion that nurses are unable to cope with the stress of dealing with other emergency professionals as a result of this one isolated rogue event is degrading to the profession as a whole. It reinforces the notion that because nursing is a primarily female profession, they have to be protected by reactionary fiat by administrators. And the hospital is using nurses to show the cops "who's boss".

    pathetic...
    I don't see it that way.

    Why shouldn't a supervisor deal with it, look at all the time the nurse was away from her unit and patients.
  14. by   MunoRN
    I think there's some confusion about the steps the hospital has taken. The hospital hasn't banned all LEO's from the hospital, they now require LEOs to direct their requests to the house supervisor or an administrator rather than to direct care nurses, which is how it works at most of the facilities I've worked at.

    There are some reports that suggest Officer Payne has received a lifetime trespass from the hospital, but that is pretty standard for anyone who physically attacks a staff member when in their 'right mind'.

    Some of the reports also suggest that their have been additional, temporary measures placed on the SLC PD which is appropriate since the cause of the incident came from many levels of the department, not just one bad apple. This would be more problematic if the SLC PD was who the hospital relied on for law enforcement needs, but it's not, it's the U of U PD that has jurisdiction over the hospital.

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