Much of the coverage of this incident at a hospital in Utah write of ‘recent changes’ in the law concerning drawing blood, but that, as far as I can tell, was a year ago. Is that a recent change? Certainly not changed by an obscure agency or executive order.
Perhaps this kind of optic will help drive home the need for a less fear based police protocols, or even explaining why the need is there in this situation. It also appears to present distinct feelings of helplessness in many of the players, and with hospital staff knowing the culture of exacting HIPA rules. Since it is emotions that often drive concern, is this a useful optic and in what way? It certainly impacted nurses that I know.
ABA Journal June 23, 2016
States may not prosecute suspected drunken drivers for refusing warrantless blood draws when they are arrested, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-1 opinion on Thursday that found such tests violate the Fourth Amendment.
The majority opinion (PDF) by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. held that states may, however, require a warrantless breath test incident to arrest because such tests are less intrusive. That portion of Alito’s opinion was joined by five other justices.
“We conclude that the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving,” Alito wrote. “The impact of breath tests on privacy is slight, and the need for [blood-alcohol concentration] testing is great. We reach a different conclusion with respect to blood tests. Blood tests are significantly more intrusive, and their reasonableness must be judged in light of the availability of the less invasive alternative of a breath test.”
(Dan here…the video is below the fold)
I don’t see any legal connection between a (apparently unconstitutional) requirement for the driver to give up blood and requiring a nurse to collect it. You could not pass a law mandating that nurses or other medical personnel must collect blood from an unwilling person. Hire some meds of your own to do it for you. Such a law — and there is no such law — would be unconstitutional (Thirteenth Amendment?!).
Only with consent can blood be drawn, or if under arrest etc. none of which applied. The officer was trained to draw blood but the hospital was following the law as they saw it.
Drawing blood was seen as too invasive by Alito and others. Not recently.
It is my understanding, blood is the property of the person from whom it is taken. Only the owner can give it. A police officer can not order another to hand over the blood, its records, or have it drawn without the owner’s consent.
The police officer lied to the nurse. Once he got it, they could present the evidence, and force an appeal. I hope they fire the police officer and prosecute him as he knew what he was doing.
Maybe Jack will weigh in on this.
Keep in mind that the truck driver in this case was the victim, not the perpetrator. The perpetrator was killed in a head-on collision with the truck. The perpetrator was attempting to flee the police in a risky high speed chase.
The reason the police were so intent on getting a blood test from the victim is that they were afraid of a lawsuit for endangering the victim’s life with their high speed chase. If they could shift some of the blame onto the victim, they could cover their own reckless asses.
Thanks, you filled in the gaps I did not know.
That explains what was going on there BillB. Wonder why our billion dollar corporation news producers cannot get that out to us?
I’ve seen a (60 Minutes?) TV report where suspected DUIs who refused breath tests were tied down and had blood extracted. Probably pre the USSC decision above. Of course if this truck driver had given them no reason to test his blood/alcohol levels they were wildly out of line in the first place.
Yes, it is worth noting why the police had no right to a blood test. As the nurse carefully and calmly explained, and showed them on the printed document, the could only take a blood sample if the person was under arrest or else with a judicial warrant.
Of course the patient was not under arrest, because he was not the perpetrator. He was the innocent victim of the reckless high speed chase. And they could not get a warrant, as the police themselves admitted on tape, because they did not have “PC” — probably cause. The truck driver had committed no crime.
In spite of this, they were bullying the nurse because they knew that the police had screwed up. Their reckless high speed chase had resulted in the near death of an innocent bystander.
The truck driver has third degree burns over most of his body. If he survives, he will face months or years of reconstructive surgery and permanent impairment. The city faces millions in medical expenses and damages.
The police were fishing for anything that might lessen their exposure. If they could find traces of substances in the truck driver’s blood, they could claim contributory negligence. And of course, fishing for evidence, against the patient’s will, without probably cause of a crime is illegal.
Incidents like this are why many police departments have a policy forbidding high speed chases. Innocent people get killed. But testosterone fueled police sure do love the thrill of the chase and they will do it to reckless abandon unless told otherwise.
The police officer clearly assaulted the nurse who was simply standing there talking calmly to him. He first attempted to swat away her cell phone, an out of control display of anger. Then he got physical without even telling her she was under arrest, or giving her a chance to cooperate. It was pure uncontrolled rage. The officer should not just be fired but prosecuted for assault and jailed.
Sorry. Above, “probably cause” should be “probable cause”.
One officer says to the other “let’s just get a warrant” and the other replies “we don’t have PC” — probable cause. They are admitting on tape that what they are attempting to do is illegal but they try to use bluffs and finally physical violence to get their way.
Run, BillB got it right.
Think of how this plays out without the video.
Cop arrests the nurse and claims that she became disruptive.
Cop takes the blood.
Driver has alcohol in blood
He is charged with drunk driving or reckless endangerment or anything and everything.
He now needs to challenge the search to get the evidence quashed in the criminal case.
Question as to whether that can be used against the driver if he files a civil action against the police for the injuries.
Nurse gets charged with something like resisting arrest and is then offered the possibility of a plea deal. Given the pending charges she probably cannot testify in favor of the driver at any hearings to quash the evidence.
Driver’s blood test comes back negative.
All charges dropped against the nurse. The whole scene gets swept under the rug. The nurse tells all her co-workers what happens if they disobey the officer.
Thanks BillB , JackD and run
The police detective also has a second job as a driver for a private ambulance company. Today he was fired from that job.
Captured on tape was his threat to the nurse to take all the “transients” (poor) patients to her hospital and all the “good” patients to a different hospital. The owner of the ambulance company said this was a violation of company policy and fired him.
This guy is a sociopathic menace. He should be put in jail. He should never again be given a badge and gun. Why has it been over a month and the police department is silent. Still covering their asses? The police will never cross the thin blue line, no matter how obvious the corruption.