Nurse Charged After Allegedly Chopping Off Patient's Foot for Personal Use
A nurse is facing charges of physical abuse of an elderly person and causing great bodily harm and mayhem, after she allegedly cut off a patient's foot for her own purposes.
Mary K. Brown, 38, worked at a nursing home in Durand, Wisconsin, when she allegedly performed the unauthorized amputation on a 62-year-old man who had suffered severe frostbite in his feet after having lost heat in his home.
The man was brought to Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in Spring Valley, but his foot became necrotic (the tissue was dying), and began to smell, nurses said.
Brown cut off the patient's foot on the night of May 27. Two nurses were in the room with her when she conducted the procedure, according to NBC News.
While one nurse said the man didn't show any signs of suffering during the amputation, others told investigators that the man “moaned” during the procedure and another noted that “it was not a very good amputation.”
A nurse said she spoke with the man two days after the amputation and he told her "that when they cut his foot off he felt everything and it hurt very bad." The patient died days later.
Brown told investigators that she severed the foot became she “was trying to make the quality of life better for him," NBC reported. She said that the man often complained about the smell and figured that he would want it removed.
Other nurses agreed that it was done out of compassion, since the dead limb was already falling off and was “black like a mummy.”
An administrator for the nursing home told investigators that Brown had been instructed not to amputate the foot. However, he added that a doctor would have likely ordered the amputation out of respect for the patient's comfort and dignity, KSTP reported.
According to investigators, after Brown cut the foot off, she told other members of the staff to put it in a freezer to preserve it.
Multiple witnesses said that Brown had intended to keep the foot and turn it into a plaque that was going to read “Wear your boots kids.”
One nurse also noted that Brown's family owns a taxidermy shop, NBC reported.
Investigators were notified of the incident on June 4 by the local medical examiner, who immediately noticed that the man's foot was missing from his body and was instead “lying beside him,” according to NBC.
Brown was interviewed by investigators, who ultimately concluded that she lacked all authority to conduct such a procedure without permission from a doctor or the victim.
“Brown had no doctor’s order to conduct an amputation. She stated that she did not have any authorization to remove VICTIM’s foot. Brown did not have VICTIM’s permission to amputate his foot. Administrators of the nursing home agreed that it was outside of the scope of Brown’s practice to conduct such a procedure and a doctor’s order was necessary prior to any amputation,” investigators wrote in their findings, according to KSTP.
Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center has since responded to the incident, promising “to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter.”
They also confirmed that “the person identified” is no longer employed.
Brown is now facing up to 40 years in prison on each of the felony charges and an additional six years for each charge due to the enhancers, WEAU reported. Each charge also carries a maximum penalty of up to $100,000.
The most recent update from WEAU notes that Brown has secured court-appointed legal representation ahead of her preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 27.
Brown was ultimately released on a $150,000 signature bond on Dec. 6. Part of the release includes restrictions that she have no contact with her former employer or the victim's family.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.