It is not too uncommon to see that even something that is very well defined to be concisely understood, like the law.
In certain situations, the law can be found as the topic in which it is maybe unclear on whose side the law will ultimately be and how it should be applied.
One very interesting case is when it comes to Alex Wubbel.
Order VS Settlement
On one occasion, during the day of July 26, 2017, a regular Salk Lake City Police officer arrived at a hospital where Alex Wubbel had been working as a nurse. The Police Officer known as Jeff Payne, arrived at the hospital and had a clear and strict demand – he wanted blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient in order to check if the patient had any unusual chemical substances in his bloodwork report.
Officer Jeff Payne claimed that it was not a demand he had asked for of his own accord. It was an order that was given to him by some other higher officials. He was brought into a situation where another driver had committed a hit and run, leaving the unconscious driver behind and having police handle the unconscious person’s wellbeing.
Later on, in the police’s attempt to confront the fleeing driver who left another crime scene, at one point, the police collided with the car, and the driver was killed.
The person who had decided to refuse Officer Jeff Payne’s request to have a blood test conducted on the unconscious driver was Alex Wubbel.
Alex Wubbel has been working at the University of Utah Hospital since 2009. She had been trying to explain the rules, laws, and policies under which she works – she was not allowed in any case to complete the request.
Wubbel insisted that there was no way she would do this as the situation with which she was presented made not much sense: She asked for a warrant from the police to conduct the bloodwork test – the police could not provide that warrant.
Another thing she had found to be unacceptable and unethical from her point of view is the fact that the patient was unconscious – the patient was under no arrest, and it didn’t really make sense to conduct a blood test but rather take care of the patient and bring him back to a normal and stable state.
It is no secret that Wubbel had also contacted various colleagues in her hospital and within the state, administration workers, and secretary and asked about their opinion when it came down to bringing a decision in this case. All the people she had contacted provided her with a confirmation of being in the right and doing things as she should, in an ethical way.
Upon realizing that Alex Wubbel was not going to give in to his request and do as she was told, Officer Jeff Payne decided to do something quite unexpected, her cuffed Wubbel and put her under arrest. Alex Wubbel was officially under arrest for 20 minutes.
She was trying to talk herself out of this situation and finally ended up getting released after having spent 20 minutes in cuffs. Initially, Officer Jeff Payne tried to accuse Alex Wubbel of getting in the way of his investigation and refusing to work and provide her service as she should, in his opinion.
He has even threatened to sue her, but he never really did it. There was not a single charge filed against Alex Wubbel in this context, and she got back to work.
What she did, though, later on, is quite interesting, as she settled with the University of Utah and Salt Lake City over this particular situation for $500.000. This very settlement is the reason that there were no other lawsuits from Wubbel in the future.
When it comes to defining and specifying law, even when it’s set to be used in a very clear context, it can cause issues between two opposing sides. Regardless of the hierarchy in which orders are given, sticking to concise and specific rules is a must.
Alex Wubbel chose to stick to ideas, rules, and policies even though it possibly could have gotten her permanently arrested and locked up. A principle that has proven to get her even the final settlement in this very situation.