Classy: Kidney donor wants it back in divorce

posted at 12:10 pm on January 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Divorces usually bring out the worst in people, but usually they take the Shakespearean “pound of flesh” more figuratively than Dr. Richard Batista of Long Island.  Not only does he want his personal possessions back, he wants the kidney he donated to his wife returned as well.  Not to worry, though — he’ll settle for $1.5 million in compensation if she won’t surrender it:

A Long Island surgeon embroiled in a nearly four-year divorce proceeding wants his estranged wife to return the kidney he donated to her, although he says he’ll settle for $1.5 million in compensation.

Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, told reporters at his lawyer’s Long Island office Wednesday that he decided to go public with his demand for kidney compensation because he has grown frustrated with the negotiations with his estranged wife. …

He said he gave his kidney to Dawnell Batista, now 44, in June 2001. She filed for divorce in July 2005, although he claims she began having an extramarital affair 18 months to two years after receiving the kidney transplant, his attorney, Dominick Barbara said.

We have plenty of experience with transplants.  The First Mate has had four transplants (three kidneys and a pancreas), two of which came from live donors.  For the first, I planned on donating one of my kidneys, but a cadaver donor became available before I finished my tests.  During the planning, it was made clear that this gift was non-refundable and non-negotiable, and in fact I signed paperwork acknowledging that, as did the two friends who later did donate live kidneys to the FM over the last five years.

This is not much more than a publicity stunt, but I wonder if Dr. Batista realizes the kind of publicity he will get.  He wants to pressure his estranged wife into a better custody settlement and is using the threat of the $1.5 million demand to get it.  I’m not sure that this mercenary treatment of his generous life-saving donation will reflect well on him as a parent; it certainly doesn’t reflect well on him as a surgeon.  I’d bet it won’t endear him to his colleagues, either.

It’s tough enough to get people to become organ donors without making it into a potential custody issue in divorces.  The doctor should know this already, but like people caught in the vise grip of ugly divorces, he seems to lack the proper perspective.  Hopefully, that will be short-lived.

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Through his actions and his actions alone, she slowly (or quickly, it’s hard to tell) lost interest in him. To “save his marriage” he gave her his kidney! Not just to save her life, mind you; that would have been a selfless act. But on the contrary he gave her his kidney explicitly to get her to be in love with him again.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Actually, if you read the article, he said he did it for both reasons.

And again, is that all you’ve got to prove he’s the one who drove her away? That he gave her a kidney because he loved her and wanted his marriage to work?

What a monster.

Well in that case, since women can’t be held responsible for their own actions, then they should simply be men’s property, right?

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:27 PM

That would be a logical conclusion to draw.

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Well in that case, since women can’t be held responsible for their own actions, then they should simply be men’s property, right?

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:27 PM

What? No. Far from it. Men should simply act in a way that maintains their wife’s interest if they don’t want her to run off with the personal trainer.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Sorry, you don’t get it both ways, idiot.

Either women are responsible for their own actions, or they are not. You’re position is that they are not, and therefore should be relegated to being men’s property.

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Sorry, you don’t get it both ways, idiot.

Either women are responsible for their own actions, or they are not. You’re position is that they are not, and therefore should be relegated to being men’s property.

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:33 PM

No. I have not said anything of the sort.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I see a spin off coming out of this; Law and Order: Medical

- The Cat

MirCat on January 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Your argument is that it’s a man’s fault when a woman cheats on him, and ergo, the man is responsible for the woman’s actions.

Thus, if the man is going to have the responsibility for a particular woman’s actions, then fairness demands that he also has the authority to limit her actions.

Now if you want to argue that it’s not the man’s fault that she cheated on him, I’m all ears, although that would directly contradict your previously stated position.

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:46 PM

P.S. Doesn’t this guy watch Judge Judy? He should have written ‘Loan’ on the Kidney and kept his receipts.

MirCat on January 8, 2009 at 4:47 PM

No. I have not said anything of the sort.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

You are acting as though the husband is responsible for his wife’s affair rather than acting as though she’s responsible for her own actions.

So, what, does this mean it’s Hillary’s fault Bill chased everything with a skirt, sexually harassing his own workers in the process? Is it Jackie O’s fault that JFK slept with Marilyn? Lisa Bonnet’s fault that Lenny Kravitz cheated?

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 4:48 PM

So, what, does this mean it’s Hillary’s fault Bill chased everything with a skirt, sexually harassing his own workers in the process?

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Yup, the non-rolling pin wielding enabler!

- The Cat

MirCat on January 8, 2009 at 4:50 PM

ypbatty, i think, is deliberately trying to rile people up.

gippergal1984 on January 8, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Your argument is that it’s a man’s fault when a woman cheats on him, and ergo, the man is responsible for the woman’s actions.

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Through his actions, the husband is responsible for his wife’s interest in him. Her later actions are her own responsibility.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Through his actions, the husband is responsible for his wife’s interest in him. Her later actions are her own responsibility.

Also, just so we don’t get to crazy sexist here, you can reverse the sexes.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Through his actions, the husband is responsible for his wife’s interest in him. Her later actions are her own responsibility.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM

It takes two people to make a successful marriage. With your attitude, I can guarantee that is something you will never experience.

thirteen28 on January 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Through his actions, the husband is responsible for his wife’s interest in him. Her later actions are her own responsibility.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM

I’m sorry, but no one is responsible for someone else’s interest.

I’ve said before that I think even in cheating both spouses share responsibility, but that’s not the same as having sole responsibility over a person’s feelings.

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 5:15 PM

I’m just helping you understand why she did what she did.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 4:02 PM

She did it because she has bad character.

DrMagnolias on January 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM

She did it because she has bad character.

DrMagnolias on January 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Also true.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:22 PM

I’ve said before that I think even in cheating both spouses share responsibility, but that’s not the same as having sole responsibility over a person’s feelings.

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Yes, and sole responsibility over a person’s feelings is not what we’re talking about here.

Nonetheless, it is preferable to act in a way that will maintain or raise interest, as opposed to acting in a way that will lower interest.

Also, giving someone a kidney will not sufficiently raise interest, apparently.

ypbatty on January 8, 2009 at 5:31 PM

That’ll work for a night.

Esthier on January 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM

There you go underestimating again.

Speakup on January 8, 2009 at 5:36 PM

Ed, since you have personal experience with organ donation, how do you feel about legalizing organ selling?

Mark Jaquith on January 8, 2009 at 5:39 PM

This divorce has been dragging on for 4 years. He is obviously rich, $1,000,000 house etc… She was probably asking for all sorts of compensation for outrageous things. Probably claiming he didn’t adequately support her during the marriage, etc… He throws out the kidney claim to make a point about who was, and who was not contributing their fair share to this marriage.

She met this guy when he was a doctor and she was training for a nurse. You have no idea how many gold diggers do this until you see it up close. She was probably trying to paint him as an uncaring bastard to get as much lucre as possible so he brings up the kidney.

Buford on January 8, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Regardless of who ’caused’ the split up…

…and regardless of who is the bigger idiot…

…the man is out-and-out wrong (and stupid!) to ask for the kidney (or the extra money).

I hope this incredibly petty and vindictive act costs the man when the judge issues the settlement.

Oh, and the lawyer should be disbarred for approving such a ridiculous request.

Religious_Zealot on January 8, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Regardless of who ’caused’ the split up…

…and regardless of who is the bigger idiot…

…the man is out-and-out wrong (and stupid!) to ask for the kidney (or the extra money).

I hope this incredibly petty and vindictive act costs the man when the judge issues the settlement.

Oh, and the lawyer should be disbarred for approving such a ridiculous request.

Religious_Zealot on January 8, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Have no doubt that no matter what she did, or how much flesh he sacrificed to save her life the divorce will cost him that was never in question.

DFCtomm on January 8, 2009 at 10:57 PM

He should hire that ex judge that sued a laundry for $54 million for his lost pants to represent him.

I’m betting this doctor, like the judge threw his career away .

darwin-t on January 8, 2009 at 11:37 PM

The question is, Which is worse? Mr. Batista’s stake in sweetie pie’s kidney, or Mrs. Bobbit’s poke chop?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on January 9, 2009 at 3:42 AM

Have no doubt that no matter what she did, or how much flesh he sacrificed to save her life the divorce will cost him that was never in question.

DFCtomm on January 8, 2009 at 10:57 PM

I find it interesting (and a bit disturbing) the need of some commenters here to make heroes or villains out of the man and woman.

My own experience with those who get divorced is that it is RARELY the case where one party is all right and the other all wrong.

The kidney was a GIFT.

This neither forces the woman to be subservient to the man for the rest of her life…

…nor forces the man to demand it back when the woman cheated.

By demanding it back the man doesn’t win “points” or show that he was the “most aggrieved” party.

It simply shows that he is not interested in actually settling the divorce and moving on and is more interested in striking back at his ex-wife.

Religious_Zealot on January 9, 2009 at 8:51 AM

The kidney was a GIFT.

This neither forces the woman to be subservient to the man for the rest of her life…

Religious_Zealot on January 9, 2009 at 8:51 AM

Without him…… She Dies, I beg to differ.

Joey1974 on January 9, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Without him…… She Dies, I beg to differ.

Joey1974 on January 9, 2009 at 9:43 AM

A gift is still a gift – which means there is NO obligations or strings attached.

To demand it back or ask money for it is basically blackmail.

And if she were to stay with him and put up with him only because of the kidney…

…well, what differentiates her from prostitutes who stay for the money?

Religious_Zealot on January 9, 2009 at 10:29 AM

…well, what differentiates her from prostitutes who stay for the money?

Religious_Zealot on January 9, 2009 at 10:29 AM

The Children, The House, The Standard of Living, The Love he had for her, He wanted to keep her in his life and she threw that all away when she decided to take an “Organ Donation” from her Physical trainer. She cheated on him, took his Kids, Will Probably get Custoday, Will Keep the House, Probably a Car or two, and an Absurd Amount of Child Support and in the process Destroyed this mans heart and his Family……. On Second Thought you may have a point not much diiferentiates her from a prostitue

Joey1974 on January 9, 2009 at 10:48 AM

A gift is still a gift – which means there is NO obligations or strings attached.

Religious_Zealot on January 9, 2009 at 10:29 AM

A $20.00 Bouquet of Flowers is a gift, A new T.V. Set is a gift, I think you fail to comprehend the magnitude of the level of sacrifice this guy made. This was not a gift, it was the ability to continue sustaining an existance on this planet. I would suggest that maybe eternal gratfulness and obedience is pushing it, but to simply not be a cheating dirty,rotten, filthy, flea ridden, skanky whore would have been the least she could do.

Joey1974 on January 9, 2009 at 10:54 AM

I’m sorry, but I still disagree. I can understand the father telling his children that she and he no longer wanted the same things and that she wanted to be with other people, but I don’t think he should tell their children that their mother’s a slut.

Anything he can say to explain the situation only trashes their mother, and that’s not the best way to have a good relationship with your children anyway.

If she really is as selfish as you say, the kids will figure it out on their own and not as the result of a divorce or bad mouthing by their father.

Wrong answer. She was with another man while she was married not after. She broke up the marriage, not him. This all happened during the marriage, and came as a total shock to my brother. He was crushed for a year or more, and still isn’t back to normal, though he is now much better off.

Also, I didn’t say he badmouthed her or told them she was slut: you read that in. He told them what happened, their mother gave her stated reason, and (later) they asked them who they wanted to stay with as primary custody. My nephew is sharp and knows what went down, but my niece was more the “momma’s baby”. She eventually found out on her own, after 6 months of little maternal supervision that got so bad my 13 year old niece wanted to leave and come back to my brother. He still has an open “see each other whenever” policy. He doesn’t deny them access or time with each other: she doesn’t use it, pays NO support, and plays favorites with them. He’s beginning to seek support now.

This is a woman who, when she found out my brother’s new girlfriend got my niece a makeover, went out and got herself a makeover to look better than her daughter. You’d expect the mother to buy something better to trump the girlfriend’s gift, not buy something better to trump the daughter.

You can face sanctions on child custody for badmouthing the other parent. She cheated and broke up the marriage: Fact. “She’s a slut”: opinion. Say this with me now: he isn’t trashing her: her own actions trashed her. But Mommy should stay stainless, Daddy will cry to himself every night in silence, and all it takes is the kids to remain clueless.

You want the fact concealed, and mesh it with an unfounded opinion to get that accomplished.

The best relationship to have with your children is to teach them the value of the truth, not spare them reality and spin a lie that will only hurt more once discovered. This ain’t Santa were talking about. This is an event that may effect their lives forever.

I heard your argument about keeping infidelity hush-hush from the kids before: from cheaters.

Saltyron on January 9, 2009 at 12:59 PM

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