A former Wisconsin hospice nurse has been charged after amputating a dying patient’s foot without a doctor’s order or the patient’s consent, police said.
Mary K. Brown, 38, has been charged with physical abuse of an elderly person, intentionally causing great bodily harm, and mayhem, according to a criminal complaint obtained by WQOW. Brown was working as a hospice nurse at the Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, when she was tending to the victim in March 2022.
The victim, a man who has not been identified, was admitted to the nursing home with severe frostbite on both of his feet and was believed to be near death at the end of May. With his right foot necrotic and holding on by skin and a few tendons, Brown allegedly cut it off without permission. Multiple witnesses told police that Brown cut off the victim’s foot without a doctor’s order and without the victim asking her to cut off his foot. Brown allegedly admitted she did not have a doctor’s order to perform the amputation.
Another nurse reportedly told police that she was in the room when Brown removed the foot and held the victim’s hand tightly as he moaned throughout the procedure. A different nurse told police that the victim told her later that he had felt everything during the amputation and had been in pain.
One nurse told police the amputation wasn’t done well and that Brown had mentioned her family has a taxidermy shop and she would get the foot preserved and display it with a sign that read, “wear your boots, kids.”
Brown reportedly told police she amputated the victim’s foot to make him more comfortable and hoped someone would do that for her if she were in the same position.
Kevin Larson, administrator and CEO of Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care, told WQOW that Brown was not an employee of their organization.
“We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter. The person identified is not employed with our community,” Larson told the outlet.
It is not clear if the victim is still alive, the New York Post reported.
Brown’s initial court appearance is scheduled for December 6. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison for each count, a sentence that could be as high as 46 years per count since the victim is elderly.