Wisconsin Nurse Charged With Cutting Off Patient's Foot Without Permission for Taxidermy Display

Witnesses told investigators the nurse intended to preserve the foot and place it on display in her family's taxidermy shop.


A Wisconsin nurse has been charged with several crimes after allegedly amputating a patient's foot without permission with the goal of preserving it and displaying it in her family's taxidermy store.

Mary K. Brown, 38, is charged with physical abuse of an elder person, intentionally causing great bodily harm, and mayhem, according to online court records obtained by NBC affiliate WEAU-TV.

According to the court documents, on June 4, 2022 officers were called about a death at a nursing home in the town of Spring Valley after the body was sent for an autopsy due to 'unusual circumstances about the person’s death.'

Further investigation found the victim, a 62-year-old man, had been placed in the nursing home in March 2022 after falling in his home when the heat went out and had severe frostbite on both of his feet.

Witnesses told investigators that later on, one of the man's feet became necrotic, began to smell, and was barely still attached to the man’s body by dead skin and tendons.

After reviewing the victim’s medical chart, the medical examiner later found that a nurse, identified by witnesses as Brown, amputated the man's right foot on May 27, 2022, allegedly as an act of compassion because of the state of his feet, according to the court document.

During the amputation, witnesses told investigators the man did not appear to be in pain and there was blood loss during the procedure. However, other witnesses stated the man “moaned” while another said the amputation process "was not very good."

After the procedure, a witness, identified as Nurse 5, said Brown intended to preserve the foot and place it on display in her family's taxidermy shop with a sign that read 'Wear your boots, kids," according to court documents.

Spring Valley Health and Rehab Center did not immediately respond to NBC's request for comment. It was not immediately clear if Brown had retained a lawyer. 

Brown now faces up to 40 years in prison on each of the felony charges and a maximum penalty of $100,000 for each charge. Her first court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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