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Husband demands money for kidney

January 8, 2009 7:46:22 AM PST
A Long Island surgeon embroiled in a nearly four-year divorce proceeding wants his estranged wife to return the kidney he donated to her, although he says he'll settle for $1.5 million in compensation. Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, told reporters at his lawyer's Long Island office Wednesday that he decided to go public with his demand for kidney compensation because he has grown frustrated with the negotiations with his estranged wife.

Dr. Batista fought back tears after talking about a bitter divorce battle he's embroiled in with his wife of 15 years.

"There's no deeper pain or betrayal from somebody you loved and devoted your whole life to," he said.

Batista's a full-time surgeon, who married Dawnell in 1990. They would later have three children and eventually he saved her life by donating his kidney to her in 2001.

She filed for divorce in July 2005, although he claims she began having an extramarital affair 18 months to two years after receiving the kidney transplant, his attorney, Dominick Barbara said.

Batista says she had an affair.

"I felt humiliated betrayed as a person, a man, a husband and father," adds Dr. Batista.

Now as part of the divorce settlement Dr. Batista isn't asking for the million dollar home they shared in Massappequa, he's asking for his kidney back, or to get paid for it.

Douglas Rothkopf, the attorney representing Dawnell Batista, told Eyewitness News, "The facts aren't as represented by Dr. Batista. We will be addressing the issues before the judge within the next few days."

Batista, 49, said he has no regrets about donating the kidney, only about the failed marriage.

He still recalls the day after the surgery took place.

"There is no greater feeling on this planet. As God is my witness, I felt as if I could put my arm around Jesus Christ. It was unbelievable; I was walking on a cloud. To this day I would still do it again," he said.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Scott Curkin and Bob Monek

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