A Wisconsin nurse reportedly amputated a 62-year-old man’s foot without his permission to display in her family’s taxidermy shop. Mary K. Brown, 38, told her colleagues she planned to bronze the foot and display it with a sign that said “wear your boots kids,” as per a police affidavit obtained by The Washington Post.
- Mary K. Brown has been arrested and charged. NBC News reports that while the allegedl incident took place back on May 27 at Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in Pierce County, authorities only charged her last week. She now faces counts of physical abuse of an elder person intentionally causing great bodiy harm and mayhem.
- An investigation has been ongoing. Authorities were alerted by the medical examiner of “unusual cicumstances” in the autopsy of the man, who had a foot “lying beside him” rather than attached to his body. The unnamed victim had been at the center since March after he fell and a lack of heat in his home left him with “severe frostbite” on both of his feet. While it seemed likely he would die anyway, no one gave Mary K. Brown permission to amputate his feet. The man’s feet had turned “black like a mummy” and the smell coming from them was apparently so pungent that the man regularly apologized to the nurses for the smell. Brown later claimed that she amputated his right foot as an act of compassion.
- Others have somewhat backed up Brown’s story. Several other nurses told authorities that the victim’s foot wasn’t fully attached to his body prior to the amputation due to a fall he’d suffered while staying at Spring Valley. However, they differed when it came to the man’s response to having his foot completely severed, with some nurses claiming that the man “moaned” while others said he was fine and didn’t seem to feel anything. The victim died several days later.
- One of the other nurses admitted she felt something was off about Brown’s plan. Per WEAU-TV, another nurse at the center told investigators that Brown’s openness about wanting to bronze and display the man’s foot was “weird” and should be reported. Brown herself admitted that the man didn’t OK the surgery, nor did anyone else at the facility. However, she insisted it was all for the man’s “dignity and comfort,” according to KSTP-TV.
- Brown is no longer employed at Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center. The center released a statement saying that the facility had fired her and that it will “continue to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter.” Mary K. Brown will appear in court on December 6 and could face up to 40 years in prison for each felony charge if convicted.