Man loses arm, leg, kidney in divorce


Dr. Richard Batista and his wife, Dawnell Batista, are going through a nasty divorce. This, in itself, is not particularly surprising or abnormal; millions of people go through divorces every day, and neither the fact of the divorce, nor the immediate details are particularly uncommon. Dawnell, apparently, had an affair, and has since denied her husband access to their three daughters. From the beginning of the breakup, it has been acrimonious and brutal, with each party going for the jugular.

Again, this divorce is not particularly abnormal. Recently, breakups have become all-out death sports, with both parties seeking not only money and property, but also flesh, blood, and the total destruction of their opponents.

What makes this breakup spectacularly unusual is the fact that Dr. Batista is demanding that his wife pay him $1.5 million for her kidney. Apparently, he donated it to her in 2001, when Dawnell was awaiting a transplant. While he hoped that the organ would give their marriage new life, his wife chose instead to seek a life apart from him. She proceeded to earn a master's degree in nursing and pursued a black belt in karate. Unfortunately, she injured herself in the latter endeavor, which led to physical therapy, and a subsequent affair with her therapist. Dr. Batista, apparently, is seeking to use the kidney as a wedge to ensure that he gets access to his children.

The saddest thing about this story is that many readers may take it as a warning against organ donation. Dozens of similarly grotesque tidbits, from the Monty Python liver donation skit to urban legends about stolen kidneys, flood the popular consciousness, convincing people that organ donation is a one-way ticket to self destruction.

In point of fact, the Batista divorce demonstrates just how precious a gift an organ can be. Admittedly, I'm somewhat biased on this topic, as I have a sister who is currently awaiting a liver transplant, which means that I think that Dr. Batista's $1.5 million price tag is incredibly cheap. Still, he recently admitted that, in spite of everything, he would donate the kidney all over again. As he noted, "There was no greater feeling on this planet."

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. His organ donor card is completely filled out.