Divorce can be a difficult and bitter process, but one man took things to a whole other level when his wife filed to bring their marriage to an end.

When things become acrimonious in a divorce, you might expect that things like the house or custody of the children are going to be central to the legal proceedings that follow.

For one man, however, things were even more extreme than this, as prior to the divorce, presumably when things were going a bit better, he had given his wife a kidney.

Man demanded return of kidney from estranged wife
It’s a touching gesture, one which you might think would exemplify love and commitment.

But Dr Richard Batista rather spoiled the gift when he demanded that his wife, Dawnell, either return the kidney or pay him $1.5 million after she filed for divorce.

The couple tied the knot back in 1990 and had three children together.

Dr Batista claimed that their marriage had already been on the rocks due to his wife’s ongoing medical issues.

After she had two failed kidney transplants, he decided that he would donate one of his kidneys to save both her life and their marriage in 2001.

He told reporters at the time: “My first priority was to save her life. The second bonus was to turn the marriage around.”

Dr Richard Batista demanded his wife return the kidney he donated. Credit: CBS
Dr Richard Batista demanded his wife return the kidney he donated. Credit: CBS

But it seems that while the procedure succeeded in saving Dawnell’s life, the ‘bonus’ was not quite so forthcoming, and she filed for divorce in 2005.

Dr Batista accused her of having an affair and responded by including a demand for his donated kidney or compensation of $1.5 million as part of the settlement in an extraordinary request.

His lawyer, Dominic Barbara, said his client was ‘asking for the value of the kidney’ that he gave Dawnell.

Experts, from lawyers to people specialising in medical ethics, agreed universally that the case was a complete non-starter.

Medical ethicist Robert Veatch said at the time: “It’s her kidney now and … taking the kidney out would mean she would have to go on dialysis or it would kill her.”

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Dawnell Batista filed for divorce in 2005. Credit: CBS
Dawnell Batista filed for divorce in 2005. Credit: CBS

Needless to say, Dr Batista did not succeed in getting either the kidney or the compensation during the divorce proceedings.

In a 10-page decision, the Nassau County Supreme Court rejected his request and ruled that the kidney was a gift.

“The defendant’s effort to pursue and extract monetary compensation therefore not only runs afoul of the statutory prescription, but conceivably may expose the defendant to criminal prosecution,” matrimonial referee Jeffrey Grob said.

In the United States, when someone donates an organ this is legally considered to be a gift. This measure is in place to prevent the sale of organs for money.

But that didn’t stop Batista from making his bizarre demand.

Dawnell’s attorney, Douglas Rothkopf, said of the outcome: “We are pleased with the decision.

“Human organs are not commodities that can be bought or sold.”

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