ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman is suing a Rochester funeral home and the Mayo Clinic after her husband’s body was accidentally cremated.
Jennifer Huber’s husband, Tony, died last May after he fell and hit his head while walking up the stairs at their home in Alma. His body was taken to the morgue at the Mayo Clinic and moved from one spot to another without being documented. When Ranfranz & Vine funeral home arrived to pick up another body, they took Tony Huber’s body instead, and he was cremated.
Jennifer Huber told KSTP-TV on Monday that she “lost it” and “went berserk” when she learned about the mix-up.
“It was a little after four o’clock and I got a phone call and they started saying they had mixed up his body and he was cremated, and I just started screaming,” she said in an interview with KMSP-TV. “He said, ‘I would not want to be burned.’ He called it ‘burning.'”
A lawsuit filed by Jennifer Huber argues that the Mayo Clinic violated its internal procedures to ensure the correct body is released to a funeral home. The lawsuit claims the Ranfranz & Vine funeral home failed to check the body’s identifying characteristics to make sure they matched the identification on the body bag and arm band before the body was cremated.
The family is seeking $75,000 in damages from both defendants, plus attorney fees and further relief deemed just and proper by the court, KMSP-TV reported.
“Not being able to grieve, not being able to say good bye one last time, it’s an awful feeling,” Jennifer Huber said.
Representatives from Ranfranz & Vine funeral home told KSTP-TV that they appreciated the gravity of the situation and reviewed the mistake. The Mayo Clinic expressed sympathy and said it continues to work with the family.
“I hope that this doesn’t ever happen to anybody again,” Jennifer Huber.