A Wisconsin nurse has been charged with felony elder abuse after allegedly amputating a nursing home resident’s foot, according to Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers. Mary K. Brown, age 38, was a nurse at the Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center when she performed an amputation at bedside of the 62-year old hospice patient. The resident died within days of the amputation. Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers believe the resident’s family or legal guardian may have a strong case for a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim was receiving care at the nursing home on May 27th along with add-on hospice services through St. Croix County. The nurse, Mary Brown, was employed by the nursing home and was not a hospice employee.
The victim had arrived at the nursing home in March after a fall in his home. The man’s heat was not turned on, and he suffered frostbite to his feet prior to being found. As a result of the frostbite, his feet had suffered from necrosis, or tissue death. According to the complaint, the man’s foot was attached to his leg by one tendon and approximately 2 inches of skin. A nurse reported that the resident was able to wiggle his toes when she changed his foot bandage that morning.
Ms. Brown stated to two other nurses that she planned to cut off the resident’s foot “for comfort.” The other nurses urged her not do that. Despite those warnings, Brown amputated the foot in the presence of two certified nursing assistants rather than completing the physician-ordered bandage change. The foot was placed into a biohazard bag and then moved to a freezer. A nursing assistant stated that Brown requested to take the foot home, so that she could preserve the foot at her family’s taxidermy business. Per the nursing assistant, she planned to preserve it and then display it with a sign that read, “Wear your boots, kids.”
The Administrator of the nursing home, Kevin Larson, was immediately notified about the incident. However, the facility’s Director of Nursing was only notified two days later by a distraught nursing assistant. Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers state that performing an amputation is outside a nurse’s scope of practice, which means that Brown was not licensed to perform that procedure. The Director of Nursing discussed a nurse’s scope of practice with Brown, who stated that she that she didn’t consider her scope of practice until afterwards.
When questioned by an investigator, Brown admitted that she did not ask the resident’s permission prior to removing his foot. Brown described the resident as having “mummy feet” and that she wanted to provide him comfort and a better quality of life. The administrator stated that the resident’s chart had many missing entries, including no documentation of the foot amputation.
According to nursing home abuse lawyers, the facility failed to follow the standard of care in this situation. Industry standards dictate that the resident’s physician should have been contacted to obtain an order to send the resident to the emergency room. The former president and CEO of the Council of Wisconsin Aging and Health Groups, Nina Amato, called the incident a “classic case of systemic elder abuse.”
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
While it is unknown whether the resident’s family has retained counsel, Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers believe that the incident may justify a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice. Nursing home abuse is wholly unacceptable, and legal action can be taken in these types of situations.
In Pennsylvania, you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit can be pursued when a loved on dies as the result of another’s legal fault. The statutes for wrongful death vary from state to state. Consult with a Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer if you believe your loved one died as the result of wrongful actions of a medical provider.
Contact the Wieand Law Firm, LLC Today
Call Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm if you believe your loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect. Our team of attorneys have years of experience in personal injury law and have litigated numerous nursing home abuse cases. Our attorneys understand that it can be difficult for the general public to understand what constitutes nursing home abuse, and whether or not a standard of care has been breached at a care facility. We offer a free case review and consultation to hear about your specific situation and help you to understand your legal rights. Call 215-666-7777 or send a message via the online form to speak directly to an attorney.