Divorcing doctor wants £1m for donated kidney

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The Independent US

A doctor was today demanding his soon-to-be former wife pay him £1 million compensation for a kidney he gave her while they were still together.

Dr Richard Batista agreed to be a donor for his wife, Dawnell, in June 2001 after more than 10 years of marriage, but she filed for divorce four years later.

The 49-year-old father-of-three, who claims his wife had an affair with her physiotherapist, is now demanding $1.5m (£1m) - the value he places on the kidney.

His lawyer, Dominick Barbara, told reporters: "In theory we actually asked for the return of the kidney. Of course he wouldn't really ask for that but the value of it."

He said Dr Batista was making the dispute public as a last resort and went on: "The main reason the doctor is doing this is because of how he's been treated in this case."

He added that this had never been done before in New York.

Dr Batista, a vascular surgeon at the state's Nassau University Medical Centre, said: "My first priority was to save her life.

"The second bonus was to turn the marriage around.

"I saved her life and then to be betrayed like this is unfathomable. It's incomprehensible.

"She engaged in an extramarital affair and refused to go to marital counselling and reconciliation.

"She slapped me with divorce papers in the operating room while I was trying to save another patient's life."

He claimed his wife started the affair with a therapist she met in 2003 while recovering from a knee injury she suffered during karate lessons. The therapist denies the affair.

Dr Batista also said that since his wife filed for divorce in 2005, she has refused to let him see their three children, aged eight, 11 and 14.

His wife's lawyer, Douglas Rothkopf, could not immediately be reached for comment.