Douchebag of the Year – already? The kidney or the bill.

Panty-sniffing surgeon Dr Richard Batista, Long Island surgeon, has had a messy breakup with his wife Dawnell.

Just how messy this is going to get is anyone’s guess. He accuses her of infidelity and denying him time with their children. She says he was paranoid – right down to undie-checks for evidence of an affair – and never denied access.

He donated a kidney to her eight years ago, when a pregnancy-related illness made it necessary and he turned out to be a match. Around that time, their marriage was going bad. Four years ago, Dawnell Batista filed for divorce.

Batista called a press conference this month, because the proceedings weren’t going quickly enough for his liking, or because he wanted the world to know about his pain, his terrible pain. He’s wounded, you know. And entitled. Don’t forget entitled.

What would salve his pain? He’s suing for his kidney back. Or 1.5 million dollars. Her choice: the kidney or the bill.


Announcer: “Richard Batista donated the kidney to his wife Dawnell in 2001. Well, with a new lease on life, the doctor says his wife started having an affair with her physical therapist. She filed for divorce in 2005, and now he doesn’t think it’s fair that his ex-wife runs around with his kidney in her body. He says he would take 1.5 million dollars in exchange.”

Richard Batista: “We were in a million-dollar home, I was a full-time surgeon and a full-time father, and a dedicated husband. And I saved her life. And there’s nothing bad about what I did, and I would do it again. But the pain is unbearable.

Announcer: “Now, if he would take 1.5 million dollars in exchange, could that qualify as payment for his kidney. And in fact, isn’t paying for organs illegal in this country? Hmm. Batista’s estranged wife is not commenting on the case. The physical therapist she’s accused of having the affair with denies the claims. And now you’re up to date.”

You can see Batista’s lawyer speaking in this clip:

Lawyer Dominic Barbara: “As part of the litigation we are asking for the value of the kidney that he gave his wife. In theory, we actually asked for the return of the kidney.”

This CBS announcer characterises the story as one of his “risk and sacrifice”. She’s invisible. Vom.

More of the story comes to light in this next clip, where Richard Batista and his lawyer appeared on Larry King. Apparently he hasn’t been denied visitation with his children. Not legally, not in any other way. Except, he claims, that his children have been “severely influenced” and “alienated from him” by the “environment of their household” – such that they don’t want to see him anymore. After he is so broken-hearted at his efforts being a “24/7 father” and a prominent New York vascular surgeon not gaining him the worship he deserved.

(Let me know if anyone needs a transcript of this. I’m a bit tapped out right now but can manage it later.)

Why the fuck is this cashed-up trumped-up little minigod chasing this money and this publicity all over the media? I smell douchebaggery supreme. On behalf of him and his bloodsucking self-aggrandising leech of a lawyer.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism

Tags: , ,

21 replies

  1. Re: The interview on TV…. was there a “Graft v Host reaction”?
    Anyway, sticking it back in him as a condition of return would make for an interesting immunological experiment. He’s a rat after all.

  2. So I’m guessing he hasn’t read the Merchant of Venice.
    He’s pretty special. Must be doing his private and professional life no end of good. I’d be lining up to date or be operated on a man like that.
    Ariane’s last blog post..I wish to register a complaint

  3. I’d be lining up to date or be operated on a man like that.

    I’d be lining up for BOTH! Something tells me his ethical scruples won’t forbid it.

  4. *headdesk* is not enough. “Entitled” is not nearly enough. What a wanker.
    Is it assuming too much to wonder how much his motivation for agreeing to donate the kidney was, “I need her alive to pop out more sproggen for me”?

  5. It certainly seems to be a lay down misere for this paragon of extreme douchery, but don’t despair – I’m sure the world will have a few worser examples for us by the end of 2009!
    Chin up!

  6. Shorter version: “hey, kids, look at me being a douchebag! Now, how about lunch? What do you mean, you don’t want to talk to me? I’m your father! I have Rights (TM)!!!”

  7. Wow. And it’s only January.
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Israel declares ceasefire in Gaza

  8. First off, I’m sure you sign paperwork at the onset of a donation. Not to mention that there’s a considerable amount of medical ethics issues going into this–she’d probably have to be on dialysis for the rest of her life, for starters. The state of New York should be looking into pulling his license for even suggesting it.
    his children have been “severely influenced” and “alienated from him” by the “environment of their household” – such that they don’t want to see him anymore.
    Maybe they’ve been alienated from him because he hates their mother so much that he wants to literally cut short her life. Just, you know, a guess.
    God, this makes me so mad.

  9. I don’t feel mad, just really really nauseated. The bastard is inhuman.
    Emma’s last blog post..…and the carnage the next day…

  10. You know, I started reading this wondering why we cared about some dick doctor from Long Island – but by the end I had figured it out. This is world class head-up-rear-end-ness, and my life is richer for knowing of him.

  11. If this was part of an episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’, we wouldn’t believe it. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

  12. I do wonder if private health insurers in the US have a tick-box for coverage against “Litigation: Pound Of Flesh”.
    (Curse you Ariane for getting to it before me).

  13. In England there is a crime “Demanding Money with Menaces”. It seems to me that the old “Your Money Or Your Life” highwayman’s call applies here.
    Also, can’t the AMA do something about this man having no ethics?

  14. The lawyer, Dominic Barbara, represented Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the woman who was shot by Amy Fisher, the girlfriend of her husband, Joey Buttafuoco. Google “Long Island Lolita” if you want more detail.
    He’s also been on the Howard Stern radio show; not sure if he still appears there. So I’d guess his motivation is more publicity than a specific animus against women.
    Which doesn’t make the suit any better, of course.

  15. Alan–I was going to say that, but being kicked out of the AMA doesn’t strip you of your license to practice.

  16. I don’t know how it works in the USA, but here, the AMA is a purely voluntary union and lobby organisation. It has nothing to do with licensing, registration, or standards enforcement.

  17. Yeah, the AMA has nothing to do with licensing here in the US. While being kicked out of the AMA would be bad for business, publicity-wise (not like he hasn’t already had that), ethics-based decisions for those in private practice are determined by the state licensing board, as far as I know.

  18. As far as legal stuff goes, he’s not going to get anything, if you ask me. This doesn’t, obviously, reduce the douchebagginess. It would open floodgates people are very anti- being opened at the mo (where donation can later be revisited and transformed into contract). There’ve been less openly hideous cases of donated tissue being developed into useful pharmaceutical goods that make shitloads, and the original donor being refused any anything afterwards. (And that’s in the US). But still. Who *does* that?


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