9 Jan 2009

Divorcing doctor wants payback over kidney

11:24 am on 9 January 2009

An American doctor divorcing his wife is demanding that she return the kidney he donated to her or pay him $US1.5 million in compensation.

Richard Batista said he decided to go public because he was frustrated at the slow pace of divorce negotiations with his estranged wife.

He said he had not only gave his heart to his wife, Dawnell, but donated his kidney to save her life.

But divorce lawyers say a donated organ is not a marital asset to be divided.

Dr Batista married Dawnell in 1990 and donated the kidney to her in 2001. She filed for divorce in 2005 and a settlement has still not been reached.

He said that going public was a last resort.

"There is no deeper pain that you can ever express than betrayal from somebody who you love and devoted your life to," he said.

He said he had been prevented from seeing their three children for extended periods.

Dr Batista's lawyer, Dominic Barbara, said his client was "asking for the value of the kidney" that he gave his wife.

However, a lawyer for Mrs Batista said: "The facts aren't as represented by Dr Batista. We will be addressing the issues before the judge within the next few days."