Wisconsin nurse accused of amputating frostbite patient's foot, planning to display it at taxidermy shop

A Wisconsin nurse accused of amputating a dying frostbite patient’s foot without permission – and allegedly telling coworkers she would display the body part in her family’s taxidermy shop – has been criminally charged.

Mary K. Brown, 38, was charged last week with physical abuse of an elder person, intentionally causing great bodily harm and mayhem. A criminal complaint obtained by WQOW detailed that Brown was a hospice nurse at the Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in Spring Valley, where she was assigned to care for the unnamed 62-year-old male frostbite patient. 

The patient was admitted to the facility in March of this year, and health officials determined he was close to death by May. He had "severe frostbite" on both feet after the heat in his home went out, according to the criminal complaint. 

Witnesses told investigators that Brown amputated the man’s right foot on May 27 after it had become necrotic and was only attached to the body by skin and a couple of tendons.

The man had not asked for his foot to be amputated and a doctor had not given Brown permission to carry out the amputation, WQOW reported. 

The body was sent to the county medical examiner due to the "the unusual circumstances of his death," and Brown was charged after the medical examiner's office contacted investigators in June. The medical examiner said the right foot was not attached to the man, "but was rather lying beside him," according to the complaint.

Brown told police that she performed the amputation to make the patient more comfortable and that she would have wanted the same if she were in the same position. 

Another nurse was in the room at the time of the amputation and said she was holding the patient’s hand. She reported his grip became tight and he moaned during the procedure, the outlet reported. Another nurse told investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office that she spoke to the man after the amputation and he relayed that he felt everything and that it hurt. Another nurse said the amputation was not done correctly.

Brown allegedly told other nurses that her family owns a taxidermy shop and that she wanted to preserve the foot and place it in the store with a sign reading, "wear your boots, kids."

Brown is no longer employed at the health center, administrator and CEO of Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care Kevin Larson told WQOW. 

"We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter. The person identified is not employed with our community," he added in a comment to Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning. 

Brown is due in court on Dec. 6. 

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