A Long Island surgeon has a broken heart and only one kidney. Dr. Richard Batista donated one of his healthy kidneys to his wife in 2001 when, after she experienced two rejections, she was in dire straits. Batista claims his wife, Dawnell, callously repaid him by first having an affair with her physical therapist and then denying him access to their children in an increasingly bitter divorce.
Now the doctor wants his soon-to-be-ex to pay $1.5 million for the organ he gave on her eight years ago in a gift meant to save her life and their foundering marriage.
Dawnell Batista survived, but alas their marriage lasted just another four years, with the wife filing for divorce in July 2005. The pair met two decades ago when he was a resident and she a training nurse. They were married in August 1990, celebrating with a lavish Long Island reception, and were soon living in a $1 million home.
The case is apparently the first of its kind in New York State. A spokesperson for the New York Organ Donor Network said she has never heard of anything similar. Batista insisted his cash-for-kidney claim was a direct result of his wife’s bad conduct.
For any disgruntled organ donors in Colorado, the donation of an organ is generally perceived as a completed gift for which no monetary compensation can be later sought.