A TIME IN HISTORY: This woman divorced her husband after he donated a kidney to save her life
In 2001, Richard Batista, a neurosurgeon from Long Island, US, made a generous and loving gesture to his wife, Dawnell: he donated one of his kidneys to save her from a life-threatening condition. But little did he know that his act of kindness would be repaid with betrayal and divorce.
Four years after the transplant, Dawnell filed for divorce, accusing Richard of domestic violence and infidelity. She also barred him from seeing their three children. Richard, who claimed that his wife was cheating on him with her physical therapist, was devastated and angry.
In 2009, a week before the divorce trial was scheduled to begin, Richard made a shocking announcement: he wanted his kidney back, or $1.5 million in compensation. He said he had given his heart and his kidney to his wife, and that he was frustrated by the slow pace of the divorce negotiations.
He also went public with his demand, appearing on various media outlets and telling his side of the story. He said he wanted to raise awareness about the plight of organ donors and the need for legal protection.
However, his request was not only legally unsound, but also potentially criminal. A court ruled that human tissues or organs are not marital property, and that they cannot be valued or returned in a divorce suit. The court also said that Richard’s attempt to extort money from his wife for the kidney he donated could expose him to prosecution.
The case sparked a lot of controversy and debate, as well as jokes and ridicule. Some people sympathized with Richard, while others criticized him for being vengeful and selfish. Some people wondered what would happen if the kidney was returned, and who would perform the surgery.
The case also raised ethical and moral questions about organ donation and transplantation. Is it right to donate an organ to someone you love, expecting nothing in return? Is it wrong to divorce someone who gave you a part of themselves to save your life? What are the rights and responsibilities of organ donors and recipients?
The case of Richard and Dawnell Batista is a rare and extreme example of how a life-saving gift can turn into a bitter dispute. It is also a reminder of the risks and rewards of organ donation, and the importance of respecting the dignity and autonomy of both donors and recipients.