11th Circuit decides that it is a crime for a nurse to fail to follow order by policeman to draw blood
Case: DEPALIS-LACHAUD v. NOEL, No. 12-12903 (Eleventh Circuit, January 30, 2013) (unpublished)
What happened: A suspected drunk driver was brought into a hospital by a police officer, and the police officer wanted a blood draw done on the suspect. The police officer alleges that the nurse on duty at the hospital did not quickly obey the police officer, so the police officer arrested the nurse for obstruction. The nurse sued.
Decision: It is acceptable to arrest a nurse for obstruction if he does not draw blood on police command. In this case, it is not clear whether the nurse, who was the plaintiff in this case, was trying to obey the police officer or not (he-said-she-said issues), so a trial is required.
Comment: It is disconcerting to me that police officers can order around doctors and nurses in a hospital setting, but this is how the Eleventh Circuit seems to see the world.
Criticism: On a legal issue of summary judgment law, the nurse testified that she told the police officer that she was seeking authorization to draw the blood. The Eleventh Circuit treated this testimony as controverted testimony for summary judgment purposes because the police officer was silent on the issue of whether the nurse told him that she was seeking authorization. This seems wrong to me — I would think that the nurse’s testimony on this point should have been considered as uncontrovrted fo sj purposes.