Tony Huber was only 40 years old when he fell down a flight of stairs in his Alma, Wisconsin home and smashed his head.
He checked into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for help. Ten days later, he suddenly died at the hospital. Cause of death: blunt force head injury.
Tony left behind a widow, Jennifer, and their three daughters. The family asked that his body be transported to the Talbot Funeral Home in their hometown. They wanted him to have a dignified wake and a Christian burial.
It should have been a simple process. But then Mayo Clinic mistook Tony’s corpse for another, according to a lawsuit the Huber family later filed through Bennerotte and Associates in Eagan.
About a week after Tony’s death, Mayo called Jennifer to apologize. Her husband had been accidentally cremated.
Normally, Mayo sends all bodies to a central morgue for safekeeping. When funeral homes request specific bodies, staffers are supposed to double check to ensure the right guy’s being released.
Tony went straight from the hospital into a cooler. Staff jotted down his name and cooler number on a whiteboard. After an autopsy, Tony was placed in a different cooler, but the whiteboard wasn’t updated to show his new location.
When Rochester’s Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home arrived to pick up a different man scheduled for cremation, they got Tony instead.
The mistake was only uncovered after Talbot Funeral Home called looking for Tony.
Throughout his final journey, identification tags were attached to the body bag as well as an arm band. Incredibly, no one at the Mayo or Ranfranz and Vine actually took the time to check them.
Tony's family wants $75,000 for the trauma.