A Wisconsin nurse has been charged with allegedly amputating a dying patient's frostbitten foot without his consent.
A witness told authorities that Mary K. Brown, 38, of Durand, said that she was going to get the foot taxidermied following amputation, charges state. Several nurses also claimed to investigators that Brown talked about displaying the preserved foot with a sign that would read: "Wear your boots, kids."
The patient had been placed at the Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center in March. The victim fell at his home and the heat went out, causing the man to suffer from severe frostbite to both of his feet, a condition defined as necrosis, and he later died in a hospital.
According to a criminal complaint, a medical examiner first flagged during an autopsy on June 4 that one of the patient's feet was missing.
Interviews with some of Brown's co-workers revealed that they saw the foot attached by "several inches of tissue" on the morning of May 27. Brown allegedly amputated the man's foot later that same night.
Nurses gave varying accounts of what happened, as it's undetermined if the man experienced pain while the amputation was executed.
According to the complaint, Brown was never given a doctor's order to perform the procedure. Brown admitted to amputating the man's foot but added "there was no bleeding and no life left in the foot." When asked why she didn't request a doctor's opinion, she believed that a doctor would tell her to leave it be.
"She stated she was trying to make the quality of life better for him," the complaint reads, with Brown saying if she were in the same position she would've wanted the same thing.
Nursing home administrators said it was "outside the scope of Brown's practice to conduct such a procedure."
The nursing home provided the following statement to Bring Me The News, confirming she is no longer an employee there:
“We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter. The person identified is not employed with our community.”
Brown faces felony charges for abuse of an elderly person and mayhem. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison. She's due for her first court appearance on Dec. 6, according to Wisconsin court records.