November 7, 2022

Hospice Nurse Allegedly Cut Off Patient's Foot Without Permission For Taxidermy Shop

Hospice Nurse Allegedly Cut Off Patient's Foot Without Permission For Taxidermy Shop

A Wisconsin hospice nurse is being accused of cutting off the right foot of one of her dying patients to display it in her family’s taxidermy shop.

In March 2022, an unidentified male patient was admitted to Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, for severe frostbite to both feet. By May 2022, it appeared the man was close to death according to reports.

Mary Brown, a 38-year-old hospice nurse from Durand, was assigned to care for the patient. On May 27, Brown is alleged to have cut the patient’s right foot off without his permission and without a doctor’s order.

“Brown had no doctor’s order to conduct an amputation. She stated that she did not have any authorization to remove VICTIM’s foot. Brown did not have the VICTIM’s permission to amputate his foot. Administrators of the nursing home agreed that it was outside of the scope of Brown’s practice to conduct such a procedure and a doctor’s order was necessary prior to any amputation,” according to the criminal complaint. Additionally, the facility’s administrator said that Brown did not report the incident and that the man’s chart had a number of missing entries, including on the day of the amputation. 

According to reports, the victim’s foot was necrotic and held on only by a few tendons and some skin. However, a nurse present at the time of the amputation states the patient held her hand tightly and moaned during the procedure. A different nurse alleged the victim told her later that he felt everything, and it was very painful. Per the report, Brown told staff to place the foot in the freezer to preserve it. 

Brown told police she amputated the patient’s right foot as a comfort measure. She indicated that if it were her, she would want someone to do the same. 

According to another nurse, Brown told her she wanted to display the foot in her family’s taxidermy shop with a sign reading “Wear your boots, kids.”

It is unclear if the patient is still alive.

Brown is currently being charged with physical abuse of an elder person – intentionally causing great bodily harm, and mayhem. If convicted, she could face 40 years in prison for each charge. Brown could face increased jail time due to the fact the patient was an “older person.” Brown also faces a maximum penalty of $100,000 for each charge. She is scheduled to appear in court on December 14th for a status conference.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Brown has been a licensed registered nurse in Wisconsin since July 2020. Her license is still active according to the website; however, the Wisconsin Board of Nursing is currently investigating a complaint against her. 

Statement From Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center

The administrator and CEO of Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care, Kevin Larson, released the following statement, “We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter. The person identified is not employed with our community.”

Larson further went on to explain that Brown does not currently work at the facility. 

Spring Valley Senior Living and Healthcare is a community-based,  non-profit Medicare and Medicaid-certified skilled nursing facility. Spring Valley Health and Rehab was among the 21% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities that were recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2020-21 by U.S. News & World Report. 

Nurse.Org reached out to Spring Valley for comment but has not received a reply at time of publication.


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