Thursday, January 8, 2009
A man who donated his kidney to his wife eight years ago now wants it back after she cheated on him and filed for divorce.
Richard Batista from Long Island in New York, US, says he wants the organ back or £2.1m ($1.5m).
The surgeon gave his wife Dawnell the kidney in 2001 after two previous failed transplants.
Dr Batista told the New York Daily News there is "no value you can put on an organ when it saves someone's life. There is no greater feeling on this planet."
He says he is only suing Dawnell to get her to act reasonably in the divorce case, claiming she is restricting access to their children, aged eight, 11 and 14.
Their relationship had been suffering due to the strain of his wife's medical issues, said Dr Batista.
"My first priority was to save her life," he said. "The second bonus was to turn the marriage around."
But it did not work and four years later she filed for divorce.
Arthur Caplan from the University of Pennsylvania's Centre for Bioethics said the likelihood of Dr Batista getting either his kidney or the money was "somewhere between impossible and completely impossible".
Medical ethicist Robert Veatch from Georgetown University said it was illegal for an organ to be exchanged for anything of value.
Organ donation is a gift which means you cannot legally get it back, he explained.
"It's her kidney now and taking the kidney out would mean she would have to go on dialysis or it would kill her," Mr Veatch said.
He insisted no reputable surgeon would perform such a procedure and no court could compel someone to undergo an operation.