SPRING VALLEY, Wis. (WTVO) — A woman who worked as a hospice nurse in Wisconsin has pleaded not guilty to amputating a dying man’s foot without permission.
Mary K. Brown, 38, of Durand, Wisconsin pleaded not guilty to charges of mayhem, physical abuse of an elderly patient, and intentionally abusing a patient causing great bodily harm, according to CBS News.
According to The Washington Post, Brown was a registered nurse at a nursing home in Spring Valley, and reportedly cut off the 62-year-old patient’s foot and told co-workers she was going to display it in her taxidermy shop.
Court documents revealed that the elderly man was a patient at the Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in March. The Pierce County District Attorney said the man had fallen at his home and later went outside without shoes on, suffering severe frostbite on both feet.
By May 27th, nurses expected him to die soon, the affidavit said.
The man’s foot had turned “black like a mummy,” and the patient, who was “slightly coherent,” told employees that he sorry for the smell.
Brown reportedly asked the home’s administrator for permission to amputate the foot, but was told no, since the patient was expected to die soon. However, he persisted for several days.
Brown amputated the foot because she “believed it was the right thing to do,” administrator Kevin Larson said, according to the court records.
Witnesses said Brown did not have a doctor’s order to perform the amputation, nor the victim’s consent, as reported by WQOW.
A nurse who was present during the amputation later told investigators that Brown mentioned taking the foot to the taxidermy shop and displaying it next to a “wear your boots, kids” sign.
Larson later told police that he had conducted his own investigation into the surgery and determined Brown had removed the man’s foot for his “dignity and comfort,” and believed a doctor would have ordered the procedure.
The foot was placed in a freezer, but prosecutors allege that Brown tried to persuade a nurse to get it for her, so she could “take it home and preserve it.”
When the man died, days later, the foot went with him to the funeral home.
Brown is no longer allowed to work as a caregiver, and is not employed by the nursing home.