March 29, 2023

Wisconsin nurse, 38, ‘AMPUTED 62-year-old patient’s frozen foot without permission so she could show him at family’s taxidermy shop’

  • A 62-year-old man was admitted to Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, in March after a fall and frostbite
  • The man’s health continued to deteriorate and he fell out of bed: in May his foot was gangrenous and stank
  • A nurse, Mary K. Brown, 38, of Durand, said the foot had to be amputated, despite the surgery usually being performed by a doctor
  • Brown performed the amputation with help from other nurses, but failed to properly document the procedure
  • The man died eight days later, on June 4, and the undertaker noticed the man’s foot was missing
  • An investigation was launched and other nurses said Brown said she wanted to take the foot to her family’s taxidermy shop with a joke
  • Brown was charged on Nov. 3 with physically assaulting an elderly person who intentionally caused great bodily harm and mayhem


A Wisconsin nurse has been charged with elder abuse after she had amputated an elderly man’s foot without permission, and reportedly told colleagues she was going to display it at her family’s taxidermy shop.

Mary K. Brown, 38, treated a 62-year-old man who fell and whose foot was subsequently damaged by frostbite.

On May 27, she amputated the gangrenous foot and told a fellow nurse she planned to display it with a sign that read, “wear your boots, kids.”

The man died eight days after surgery, on June 4, and Brown was charged with criminal charges last week.

The story began in March, when the man was admitted to the Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in the small rural village of Spring Valley, near the Minnesota border, 100 miles east of Minneapolis.

Mary K. Brown, 38, was charged with elder abuse on Nov. 3 after amputating the foot of a 62-year-old man on May 27 without following the procedure — saying she wanted it for her family’s taxidermy shop.

He had fallen and was struggling to recover: his foot had been damaged by frostbite.

The patient’s condition continued to deteriorate and he fell out of bed in the ward, further damaging his foot.

Two months later, in May, Brown said she thought the patient’s foot needed to be amputated.

Doctors were sure he was dying, and other nursing staff said his foot was necrotic, held only by dead skin and tendons on the rest of his leg.

Brown said she made the decision to amputate his foot because she was “trying to improve the quality of life for him.”

She explained that the patient always complained about the smell and she thought he ‘would prefer it’.

Brown insisted that she perform the procedure to help the ailing man, who died eight days later. Other nurses were amazed at her actions

Brown insisted that she perform the procedure to help the ailing man, who died eight days later. Other nurses were amazed at her actions

She said there was no blood in the procedure and another nurse said the man felt no pain.

But another nurse told investigators that while Brown performed the amputation, the man’s grip was “extremely tight and he moaned a little.”

Two days later, the patient told another unnamed nurse that he “felt everything and it hurt really bad,” the affidavit said.

Brown put the amputated foot in a bag in a freezer.

One of her colleagues said Brown talked about taking the victim’s foot home and the “epoxy” – covering it with resin – which the nurse thought was odd.

The man died on June 4, and the morgue worker discovered his foot was missing and alerted authorities.

Kevin Larson, the facility’s administrator and CEO, said Brown did not follow standard procedure and wrote a report on the incident.

There were no notes about the amputation on the man’s card, and no doctor’s prescription was requested.

Larson said the best practice should have been to get an order from a doctor, which he believes they would have given.

He said he didn’t believe Brown had malicious motives, but she was fired.

“We have and will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation into this matter. The identified person is not employed by our community,” the nursing home said in a statement.

She has not commented on the allegations, filed on Nov. 3.

Brown faces up to 40 years in prison for each of the charges and a maximum penalty of $100,000 for each charge.

Brown is due to appear in court again in December.

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