Thursday, January 8, 2009

Long Island doctor Richard Batista to estranged wife: Give me my kidney back or $1.5M

Richard Batista can live with his broken heart. He just can't bear his cheating wife living with his healthy kidney. A Long Island surgeon who donated a kidney to his wife wants it back - or $1.5 million in cash - because she cheated on him.

Dr. Richard Batista said Wednesday he felt nothing but joy when he gave his wife, Dawnell, the lifesaving organ transplant in 2001.

"Theres no value you can put on an organ when it saves someone's life," Batista, 49, of Ronkonkoma, L.I., said at his lawyer's office. "There is no greater feeling on this planet."

Yet Batista wants his estranged wife to pay a heavy price for cheating on him and destroying their marriage.

"She slapped me with divorce papers when I was in surgery trying to save another person's life," he fumed.

Dawnell Batista could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit, believed to be the first of its kind filed in New York.

The couple has three children, ages 14, 11, and 8.

Dawnell Batista, 44, has suffered from failing kidneys for years and two previous transplants failed.

Against estimated 700,000-to-1 odds, her husband was found to be a match. He agreed to give her one of his kidneys at a Minnesota hospital in June 2001.

"I was the first and only one to step to the plate," Batista said.

He recalled lovingly going to visit her in the hospital room the day after the surgery.

"I was walking on a cloud and I would do it again," the doctor said.

A few years later, the marriage turned rocky and Richard Batista said his wife, a pediatric nurse, had an affair.

She filed for divorce in 2005 and the fight continues.

He claimed she tried to limit his access to their children and lawyer Dominic Barbara said they were only suing to get her to act reasonably.

The $1.5 million figure is the estimated value of a transplanted kidney, Barbara said.

"The main reason he is here is the way he was treated in this (divorce) case," Barbara said. "Had she treated him right, he would not be here today."

Source: Daily News