Utah nurse who refuses blood test on unconscious patient is Aspen native Alex (Shaffer) Wubbels

Former Olympic skier was handcuffed but not charged in ER room incident

Staff and wire reports
Alex Wubbels, who is from Aspen and was an Olympic skier, was handcuffed and detained by police after refusing to draw blood on an unconscious patient. Wubbels, whose maiden name is Alex Shaffer, held a news conference Thursday about the July incident.
Salt Lake City police body camera

The Utah nurse shown on video being pushed and then handcuffed by a police officer is Aspen native and former Olympic skier Alex (Shaffer) Wubbels.

The Salt Lake City police officer’s body camera video shows Wubbels being handcuffed after refusing to draw blood on an unconscious patient after a car crash in July.

The video taken July 26 at University Hospital in Salt Lake City shows nurse Alex Wubbels calmly explaining to Salt Lake detective Jeff Payne that she couldn’t draw blood on a patient who had been injured in a car accident. She told the officer a patient was required to give consent for a blood sample or be under arrest. Otherwise, she said police needed a warrant.

The dispute ended with Payne telling the nurse she was under arrest and physically moving her out of the hospital while she screamed: “Help! Somebody help me! Stop! Stop! I did nothing wrong!”

Wubbel was born in Aspen in 1976 and skied in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 1998 Games in Nagano. She held a news conference Thursday with her attorney and showed the footage. According to the Deseret News, Wubbels remains upset and wants to bring light to the situation and better police training.

“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry. I feel a lot of things. And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe,” she said at the news conference. “A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly,” she said.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Wubbels was not charged. Police have started an internal investigation, but Payne remains on duty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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