Man, misdiagnosed with cancer, files lawsuit

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jan 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 10:19:33-05

Panora, IA (KCCI) — A Panora man faced a terrible choice: have his prostate removed — or die of cancer.

He chose the surgery, only to find out afterward that the life-threatening diagnosis was wrong.

Court documents show that pathologist Joy Trueblood at the Iowa Clinic admitted to misdiagnosing Rickie Lee Huitt, of Panora, leading him to believe he had only five years to live without the surgery.

“I’m responsible — it was a horrible situation,” Trueblood testified in court documents that reveal her admission of messing up Huitt’s prostate biopsy.

According to court records, Trueblood said “there were two patients that day that had prostate biopsies” and a “scanner glitch” got Huitt’s and another patient’s mixed up.

Because of that glitch in 2017, doctors told Huitt that if he didn’t get surgery to remove his prostate, he’d only have an estimated five years to live. But if he had the surgery he could face “incontinence and erectile dysfunction.”

Thinking it would save his life, on April 3 of that year he got his prostate removed.

However, after the removed prostate was sent to the Mayo Clinic for further testing. They found there was no cancer there.

The Iowa Clinic declined to go on camera but in a statement told KCCI, “Once alerted about the situation we immediately apologized to the patient and implemented changes to make certain such a mistake would not happen again.”

The statement goes on to say “The Iowa Clinic recognizes the enormous trust patients and families place in our physicians and staff. We understand that trust is earned every day.”

So what about the other patient who thought he was living cancer free? The Iowa Clinic said it notified that patient, as well, and he received proper treatment.