January 8, 2009

Richard Batista, who donated a kidney and saved his wife's life and is now using that kidney as a bargaining chip in the divorce case.

The Long Island doctor would like you to know — with the help of The Daily News — what a saint he is...
He fondly recalls a visit to her room on the day after surgery.

"There was no greater feeling on this planet. As God is my witness, I felt as if I could put my arm around Jesus Christ. I was walking on a cloud."
... and what a slut she was:
"There's no deeper pain you can ever express than to be betrayed by the person you devoted your life to," Batista told reporters...

"I saved her life. But the pain is unbearable."

Batista charged his wife, Dawnell, repaid his gesture by first sleeping with her physical therapist - and then denying him access to their three kids in an increasingly bitter divorce.
This is all about money. Money and the desire to humiliate.

IN THE COMMENTS: There's some good discussion of the dynamics of marriage, and I defend my position vigorously, by I just want to highlight this silliness from Bissage:
I gave Mrs. Bissage a kidney and it came with a string attached.

No wait. That was a ureter.
ALSO IN THE COMMENTS: There's quite a lot of talk about a photograph of Dawnell that causes bamboobzlement.

UPDATE: Dawnell says Batista cheated on her.

137 comments:

Pogo said...

"This is all about money. Money and the desire to humiliate."
I disagree. Money is the means here, not the end.

This is about betrayal, pride, and seeing one's children.

Money, painful legal processes, and humiliation are proxies for violence.

Harsh Pencil said...

And if what he is alleging is true, why shouldn't she be humiliated?

rhhardin said...

Women stick together.

ricpic said...

Well, I don't know whether or not he's a saint, but donating a kidney, that bespeaks a level of courage and sacrifice beyond anything I'd ever be able to summon up.

Crimso said...

The judge should give him the kidney back.

Tibore said...

As a side note: It's disturbing to see the meme starting on the net that Richard is suing "to get his kidney back" (one example here. Another here, this last source being even more disturbing because the source comes out and says "he wants it back", then turns around in a later paragraph and says that what he wants is monetary compensation. This amounts to an admission that their piece is agitprop).

Perfect example of how information gets distorted by transmission over the internet.

Original George said...

An Intellectual Interlude. An aside, shall we say:

"Think of that -a man of my kidney. Think of that-that am as subject to heat as butter; a man of continual dissolution and thaw."

Falstaff, Merry Wives of Windsor: III,v

A meaning obsolete even in Shakespeare's time, referring to a man of one's own temperament from the Celtic "ceudna" sort or kind or an Old English compound word 'cwidey' meaning egg-womb.

You may now resume your discussion, already in progress.

Joe Welch said...

Ah yes, people who speak with absolute authority about the "real story" with other people's divorces; usually, they are really just telling you about their own.

How fascinating!

MadisonMan said...

Living with a Saint would be very difficult. If you ever disagreed with him/her, people would think you are very un-saintlike. Who wants to be judged like that?

Chip Ahoy said...

This is all about money. Money and the desire to humiliate.

Yes. That, and a kidney.

They both know now, after his extraordinary act to save his marriage, had she died waiting for a kidney, as many do, he'd be better off emotionally than he is now.

She not only has his kidney, she has his money, and somebody else has her.

This is the type of story that convinces me to never marry -- that modern people make a mockery of God uniting people in matrimony. This is the kind of story that makes me wonder further why gays would want anything to do with such a ridiculous institution as presently construed legally.

Humiliation? How about recognition?

Pogo said...

" they are really just telling you about their own"
Really?
I'll let you know if that holds up, if I should ever get divorced.

"Living with a Saint would be very difficult."
I suppose. But how hard is it not to cheat with the pool boy?

If the tables were turned, and a woman had given her kidney to her husband who then slept with the physical therapist after the transplant, this post would look very different, and the woman would be on Oprah.

But the cuckold is always funny.

Lem said...

I’m with the professor here.

Marriage has enough pressures and vicissitudes w/o adding gratitude.
No, thank you very much.

Giving her the kidney, the husband did what he was supposed to do.

Sorry, cant have it back.

Ann Althouse said...

"Living with a Saint would be very difficult. If you ever disagreed with him/her, people would think you are very un-saintlike. Who wants to be judged like that."

The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney. Try to picture the scenes in the aftermath of her survival. Did he try to control her with the old "I gave you a kidney" line? "You can't leave me, you would have died if I hadn't given you that kidney." "How can you not serve me?"

It would be similar to the way some mothers try to control their offspring: "I gave you life, and this is how you repay me." But it's different because the wife was deprived of the child's retort: "I didn't ask to be born." She asked to survive. She owes servility and obedience for the rest of her days -- just like an old-time marriage.

dbp said...

I would donate a kidney to my wife or a daughter without hesitation. I wouldn't expect them to be my slave, but it would make subsequent betrayal that much more painful.

If on the other hand, my life was saved by my wife's kidney: Every day I would be greatfull for that day of life and want to show appreciation in some way.

To cheat on your spouse in such circumstance is mind boggling.

siyeh pass said...

I see them as both complicit in the deal, making this sound similar to that great fall back plan: have a kid to save the marriage. One party wants control and the other buys-in. The whole thing is done under false pretenses, and ends up crashing into the rocks it was heading toward at the beginning.

Big Mike said...

With an attitude like that, Althouse, no wonder you're divorced.

Are you suggesting that he should have let her die? Then at least she would not have had to go through life burdened with gratitude. Perhaps you think that, for a woman, dying is preferable to life with a man who saved yours?

There is nothing in the article you link to that suggests he uses her rescue as a club in their marriage. You made that up out of whole cloth.

Loser.

Ann Althouse said...

rhhardin said..."Women stick together."

No, they don't. They betray each other quite frequently and quite easily.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney."

I know nothing about the situation, but the way it's phrased in the story that you link to suggests that her ill health was the source (or was so perceived by Richard) of their marital difficulties. He may have concluded that with recovery to health, and the removal of the stresses flowing from that, matters would regain an even keel.

Ann Althouse said...

" dbp said..."I would donate a kidney to my wife or a daughter without hesitation. I wouldn't expect them to be my slave, but it would make subsequent betrayal that much more painful."

In my mind, he threw away any hope of sympathy when he held a press conference to promote his interests.

"To cheat on your spouse in such circumstance is mind boggling."

Yes, but as always in the case of adultery, we don't know the inside of a marriage. We don't know how miserable and abusive he may have been. Do we even know if they were already separated when she had sex with someone else -- or even if it's true that she did?

Note that she'll have a hard time responding to him in the press. I would rather draw the curtain, since we have no way to hear the full story.

Simon said...

Take then thy bond, take thou thy kidney;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of New York, confiscate
Unto the state of New York.


Portia would have been a terrific divorce lawyer.

Zach said...

The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney.

Odd use of the passive voice there. Clearly the marriage was still strong enough for the wife to ask for the kidney, or for him to offer. Is it fair to ask for a kidney if the marriage is failing? There's a pretty strong moral pressure to say yes in that situation.

William said...

She is in the wrong. There are strings attached to a gift this large. If she wanted him out of her life, she should not have accepted a gift this intimate. His attachment to her was stronger than his attachment to his kidney. Her attachment to life was stronger than her attachment to honor.....A trust fund baby living at home on his mother's dime has to accept a larger amount of maternal meddling than an autonomous adult. Reciprocal obligation and feigned gratitude are what keep human relationships functioning... The fact that an apparently reasonable and benign woman can find merit and solidarity with this organ pilferer is disturbing.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Yes, but as always in the case of adultery, we don't know the inside of a marriage. We don't know how miserable and abusive he may have been."

Or, conversely, how miserable and abusive she may have been, making the last betrayal (if, as you point out, that's actually true) just the icing on the cake. Of course Richard could be a self-absorbed prick. He sure sounds it in that first quote. On the other hand, he could have been clinging desperately to a loveless, faithless wife in a failing marriage, loving her nonetheless, desperately hoping that if this next ridge can be surmounted, everything ill be better.

Bissage said...

Hey everybody, let’s all sing “The Riddle Song” together: I gave my love a kidney, that had no stone . . .

But seriously folks, I gave Mrs. Bissage a kidney and it came with a string attached.

No wait. That was a ureter.

** rimshot **

rhhardin said...

No, they don't. They betray each other quite frequently and quite easily.

True, but I meant against men.

The original thought was that it was about your divorce, but I softened it with a generality.

Ann Althouse said...

"True, but I meant against men."

They turn their backs on each other for men all the time.

Pogo said...

Let me express my doubt that, were the case reversed, the headline would instead say:
"Long Island doctor Dawnell Batista to estranged husband: Give me my kidney back or $1.5M"

No way.
Either way the story came out, she's an angel or she's a victim, and he's scum.

"[Women] betray each other quite frequently and quite easily."
Sure they do. But the public narrative remains "it's probably his fault".

Simon said...

Zach said...
"[The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney.] Odd use of the passive voice there. Clearly the marriage was still strong enough for the wife to ask for the kidney, or for him to offer."

Marriages and relationships don't always fail symmetrically. It doesn't strike me as unimaginable that he was still very much in love with her and held out hope that things would recover, even if, at the same time, in her mind, the marriage was holed below the waterline and sinking fast. ("He" and "she" are obviously interchangeable in the more general sense of the above.) Moreover, don't underestimate the power of denial. Even if he was aware that the marriage was failing, on some level, aware that she wanted out, he may simply have been in denial, refusing to consciously acknowledge it, or, as I suggested above, ascribing the breakdown to her illness, a problem he could solve (the male mind is a problem-solving device, and the old trope about how all your problems will look like nails if the only tool you have is a hammer is particularly apt).

Ann Althouse said...

Simon, my answer to all of that is: Batista held a press conference.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sure they do. But the public narrative remains "it's probably his fault"."

I agree that with respect to adultery, if the man commits it, people think he was a selfish bastard, but if a woman commits it, people think, he must have been terrible and driven her into the arms of another.

Lem said...

No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never go sailing again ;)

dbp said...

Althouse: "Batista held a press conference"

Sure, he did this hurtful thing: After she had betrayed him and was playing hardball in the divorce. At what point is he allowed to strike back without being a jerk?

Pogo said...

"Batista held a press conference."
The citizenry have learnt well the ways of lawyers, politicians, activists, and publicists.

I argue this is now well within the norm, and the expected outcome of a modern legal battle.

In what way are the ancient male concepts of honor or integrity shown any preference, deference, or admiration whatsoever in modern society?

I see no proof of it, except in remarks of surprise when you see it not.

Wriiight said...

I almost know how he feels, I gave my wife kidney beans. If we ever get divorced I will demand my 99 cents back.

Henry Buck said...

She's gotten plenty of kidneys over her life time, but always from men.

Lem said...

Batista held a press conference.

A kingdom for a kidney.

Harsh Pencil said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney."

I don't think it's possible to ever accurately make a statement about when a marriage is "failing." Of course, in retrospect, after a divorce is occurring, one can always look back at every rough patch and say that the marriage was failing at that point. But even for now most long-term healthy marriages, there
are points in the past where the couple was having a rough time of it. But if things aren't bad now, that time is not referred to as a time when the marriage was failing, although at the time it may have been indistinguishable from what would be called a time the marriage was failing if the couple were to later divorce.

All marriages (or most marriages) have tough times. She chose to deal with hers by betraying the man who donated her a kidney. Yeah, calling a press conference is not a wonderful act, but if I have to choose what to criticize, cheating or calling a press conference, I choose cheating.

And it does say something about our host that chooses "call press conference."

Ann Althouse said...

Batista held a press conference... and that's why I say this is about money and humiliation.

If you want credibility as a saint, you don't give a press conference like this.

Windbag said...

I'll wager he'd let her keep the kidney if she could manage to restore his broken heart.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

This is about how in divorce cases, women are given huge advantages over men. Here, the man risked his life for her, and to counter the alimony etc. that she is undoubtedly asking for, he is asking for something back. After all, he showed his commitment to her, and she showed she is a whore. She should walk away with nothing but shame.

Mark O said...

Come on. She's over it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Having been through a pretty ugly divorce and being the spouse that was cheated upon, I do have some sympathy for Mr. Batista and his pain of betrayal.

However, I kind of agree with Althouse's analysis .See, I remembered about your first name :-D We are only hearing one side of the story.

It could be that he used his heroic donation as a guilt club. Or not, who knows? The fact that he is spilling the unsavory facts in a tabloid doesn't raise my estimation of his character.

Maybe he could include the kidney as an asset in the divorce settlement and mitigate his split of the marital assets? I would be an interesting ploy.

Pogo said...

And good lord, I hope she didn't trade this nice unikidneyed brown man for some pink man.

Because he will just make her tired.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Althouse: "Batista held a press conference"

So what? She gargled with another man's penis and used HIS kidney to filter the product!!!!

But seriously, who says he is asking for sainthood? She cheated, and she deserves public shaming. She doesn't deserve to go on with her life pretending to be the hurt party.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I would be an interesting ploy.

Errr... IT would be an interesting ploy. I'm not that interesting.

Henry Buck said...

I agree that this is partly about humiliation. Somestimes people deserve to be humiliated. I don't see it as really about money, though.

PatHMV said...

I rather wish the technology to conduct living donor organ transfers had never been invented. It's too much. The mere existence of the capability leads to attitudes like the one expressed by Lem (at 8:53): "Giving her the kidney, the husband did what he was supposed to do."

There's no "supposed to" with giving another human being an entire organ from your own body. If it is done, it is a profound gift. There should NEVER be any obligation, legal or social, to give anybody else such a major, irreplaceable, part of one's own body. Nobody has the right to even ASK that of another person, much less demand it as some sort of obligation that one is "supposed" to fulfill.

And this woman didn't even have sufficient common respect to say: "honey, I'm sorry, I just can't stay in this marriage any more" before sleeping with the physical therapist? If it weren't for her husband, she'd either be dead or stuck on dialysis 4 or 5 times a week. That doesn't entitle him to a lifetime of servitude, but I think, having accepted his gift, she at least owes him the respect of not actually cheating on him until the ink has dried on the divorce decree.

Pogo said...

Well said, Pat.

traditionalguy said...

I noticed that the wife did not one day leave her husband to seek a new life of freedom. It seems she was seduced by a Therapist who knew how to counsel her in the wonders of divorce and having her half of the family assets along with his counsel on how to spend it. Any way it went down, two lives have been destroyed for the pursuit of a fantasy. No winners here except the 2 lawyers.

Lem said...

She was thinking of Batista when she was with the therapist.

So, she wasn’t technically cheating ;)

PatHMV said...

There's a picture of the wife included with this story.

bearing said...

Batista held a press conference... and that's why I say this is about money and humiliation.

She cheated; why can't it be about fidelity?

Pogo said...

This sort of ruined the movie Seven Pounds for me now.

Trooper York said...

She better be careful. Once she dumps Batista, she might end up with Fidel Castro.

Shanna said...

The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney.

That makes it even sadder. If your kids knew that you could have saved their mother and you didn’t, how would that relationship be in the future? What choice did he have, really.

Lem said...

The mere existence of the capability leads to attitudes like the one expressed by Lem

Sometimes I forget that the vows “about becoming one” and all that nonsense is just for show.

Sorry, my bad.

dbp said...

PatHMV said...
There's a picture of the wife included with this story

Lesson # 1 for men: Never marry a woman substantially better looking than you.

theobromophile said...

Ditto PatHMV with one addition: she also owes him access to the children. Parents owe such to each other and their children anyway, but in this situation, without his kidney, she would likely be incapable of caring for them and wouldn't have custody to begin with.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have a friend who went through a very very ugly divorce with his wife. They had 2 small children at the time age 2 and 5 who he was/is still devoted to. She left him for another man that she never married so she could continue to collect alimoney. She made his life a living hell and used the kids as barganing chips, withholding his ability to have visitation, using the child support to maintain her beer, bikes and booze lifestyle,denigrating him at every moment she could to the children. When he tried to buy clothing and food for the children, because the ex wife wasn't spending the money for the children, the court decided that maybe he could afford more child support and raised it even more.

When the children became of age they sucessfully petitioned the court to be able to live with their father and not their mother and abusive boyfriend.

We pretty much decided that if he had actually killed this witch, he would have been out of jail in fewer years than the time she made him suffer. Of course he wouldn't do this because he loves his children and had to be there to protect them.

The moral of this: the man has no rights or consideration in a divorce. All the sympathy and advantages go to the woman, despite the fact that she is a skank and whore.

Lem said...

BTW - Thanks for the pic.

Lesson # 1 for men: Never marry a woman substantially better looking than you.

I thought it was a good thing to "marry up"!?

Pogo said...

"Sometimes I forget that the vows “about becoming one” and all that nonsense is just for show."

Actually, the modern vows are about "becoming one until something better comes along, like a coworker, babysitter, or therapist".

Doesn't fit too well on a bumpersticker but you can't have everything.


Never marry a woman substantially better looking than you.
Judas Priest, man, what the hell?
For some of us, that leaves marrying outside the species.

Simon said...

PatHMV said...
"There should NEVER be any obligation, legal or social, to give anybody else such a major, irreplaceable, part of one's own body."

So you don't think that when you spread the organs around it’s good for everybody?

Shanna said...

she also owes him access to the children.

Completely agree. Unless there is some major abuse going on, she has no right to deny him access to the kids. That little tidbit would make me come down on his side, even without the kidney stuff.
I will say though, after looking at the picture, he looks like a clinger to me.

Lem said...

So you don't think that when you spread the organs around it’s good for everybody?

Joe the plumber should know.

PatHMV said...

You're welcome, Lem. I do try to soften my ranting with pictures of (physically) attractive women... ;-)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Jimmy Soul said it best

dbp said...

Judas Priest, man, what the hell?
For some of us, that leaves marrying outside the species.

LOL Pogo.

I didn't follow that advice myself, though it was 16 years ago and I was pretty stupid back then. I have been very lucky and am still married and the asymetry is a good motivater to stay in shape.

Simon said...

DBQ, it shocks me - call me naive if you will - that a partner who files for divorce can seek alimony
(indeed, the very concept of alimony seems a bizarre anachronism; one would have thought that its presuppositions are thoroughly antifeminist). That's astonishing, particularly in a situation where the cause of the marriage's breakup is an affair by the person filing for divorce!

TosaGuy said...

SNL Sean Connery: I'll take The Rapists for $200.

SNL Alex Trebek: That's "Therapists", not The Rapists.

Simon said...

PatHMV said...
"There's a picture of the wife included with this story."

She looks like the love child of Katherine Harris and Wendie Malick!

Trooper York said...

PatHMV said...
You're welcome, Lem. I do try to soften my ranting with pictures of (physically) attractive women.....
;-)

You know that is a great idea!

Lem said...

I do try to soften my ranting with pictures of (physically) attractive women... ;-)

Ok then, No bailout for you ;)

http://tinyurl.com/8t9und

Ann Althouse said...

"Lesson # 1 for men: Never marry a woman substantially better looking than you."

Look closely at those pictures. She is trying to look glamorous, and he's trying to look like a sad sack. She is not better looking than he is.

Men are easily fooled by hair, makeup, and boobage. Look at those faces.

Lem said...

Look at those faces.

They deserved each other.

PatHMV said...

Ann, boobage is part of the attractiveness factor itself, not a distraction from it... ;-)

Plus, perhaps we aren't so much fooled by it as respect women who put that much skill to alter their appearance.

P.S. Are those real or not? Is he also asking for the return of $5,000 or some silicone-filled bags?

theobromophile said...

I always thought that "one flesh" was more of a euphemism for something else....

Dawn may be good-looking, but she's 41 in that photo and looks a lot older.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

that a partner who files for divorce can seek alimony
(indeed, the very concept of alimony seems a bizarre anachronism; one would have thought that its presuppositions are thoroughly antifeminist).


I believe it depends on the length of the marriage and the income levels of the parties, not on who has initiated the divorce. I'm probably wrong. Maybe those who are really into the law can correct me?

When I filed for my divorce 23 yrs ago (I did the whole thing myself from a how to book) The judge informed me that my husband could possibly ask for alimony because we had been married for XX years and because I made much more money than he did he could demand support. I knew this already, ....thank you book, and asked him to sign a notarized waiver of alimony and also a waiver that he wouldn't ask for 50%of my retirement account, which he also could have done.

I asked for a token amount of child support (less than $200 a month to cover health insurance cost for our child), which I never recieved a dime. The judge said I should ask for more. I basically said, why bother, he won't pay it anyway. I was right.

Maybe things have changed since then? I hope so.

Pogo said...

She cleans up pretty good.
He looks like he's stopped too many fights with his face.

Remember Richard, "Always keep your gloves up.”

theobromophile said...

As for PatHMV's question - going with either fake, or she didn't breast-feed the kids.

Shanna said...

I believe it depends on the length of the marriage and the income levels of the parties, not on who has initiated the divorce.

Doesn't it depend a lot on state law. I think some states are "no fault", so it doesn't really matter who cheats or files. But I'm no lawyer.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"Batista held a press conference... and that's why I say this is about money and humiliation."

Yes. He should have simply suffered in silence and forked over. Or, just maybe she deserved to be known for what she was and did.

"If you want credibility as a saint, you don't give a press conference like this."

Read article, no mention of sainthood. Pray tell, where did he say he was seeking sainthood? Actually, he made a very large step in that direction by allowing an important part of his body to be cut out to save her.

You're male-bashing more than usual on this one.

Simon said...

Shanna said...
"I think some states are 'no fault', so it doesn't really matter who cheats or files."

Such a bizarre concept, "no fault divorce."

PatHMV said...

We should keep in mind that the woman has had 3 children plus a medical condition severe enough to require a kidney transplant. That can really take a toll on one's youthful beauty.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Doesn't it depend a lot on state law. I think some states are "no fault", so it doesn't really matter who cheats or files. But I'm no lawyer."

Shanna, me either. I believe that California is a no fault State. I hope to never have to find out again.

former law student said...

They seem equally attractive to me -- they both have strongly ethnic faces.

I agree with Ann; he probably expected a lifetime of acknowledged gratitude, and she was just sick of it. Plus I suspect he expected her gratitude to make her put up with a lot of bullshit. Her life might not have been worth living.

As for the press conference, I'd bet a lot of rumors had been swirling around a locally prominent surgeon and his "milfy" wife. So a conference would not have been out of place to explain the situation to the community, but the doctor turned it into a pity party for himself.

Ann Althouse said...

PatHMV said..."Ann, boobage is part of the attractiveness factor itself, not a distraction from it... ;-)"

So is a good hairdo and a nice makeup job. I'm just saying any woman can get these things, and this woman is not especially pretty. She's bamboozled you... bamboobzled you.

PatHMV said...

For a better attractiveness-level comparison, I provide you all with [drum roll please]... a wedding photo!

dbp said...

She's bamboozled you... bamboobzled you.

She, like most women will always be able to play jedi mind-tricks on us men. The good doctor, like most men will remain clueless as to how to look more attractive. So they may enjoy the same raw material, but she will always do more with it.

The MD after his name probably doubles his allure though.

Darcy said...

Spot on Pogo, Chip (but don't give up on marriage!), et al.

Unfair to this guy, and the media does have a bias about these things. The part about denying access to the kids is cruelty on top of cruelty.

Shanna said...

Such a bizarre concept, "no fault divorce."

Some divorces probably fit that well, others not so much. But I'm pretty sure that's how my state is. I think they just split the assets down the middle.

As for this being about money, well if she's asking for money, she made it about money, right? What he gave her is pretty much priceless, so I don't see why she would deserve money.

mariner said...

dbp:

"Sure, he did this hurtful thing: After she had betrayed him and was playing hardball in the divorce. At what point is he allowed to strike back without being a jerk?"

Never.

former law student said...

For a better attractiveness-level comparison, I provide you all with [drum roll please]... a wedding photo!

Thanks.

Rosie Perez weds Tony Orlando.

PatHMV said...

According to the NY Post article, this was her 3rd kidney transplant. The first was when she was a "baby" and given one of her father's kidneys. After her body rejected it, she got another one from her brother. It was rejected too.

Bottom line, she's been very sick on some level for her whole life. Maybe she married him knowing he was a compatible donor and has been using him from the beginning. Maybe when she was finally healthy for the first time in her life, she couldn't contain her new feelings. Maybe Ann's right and after a lifetime of being grateful and dependent on others for her fundamental health, she got sick of it.

Withholding the kids is almost always inappropriate, of course, but I've seen enough friends go through divorce to know that there is ALWAYS much more going on than either side will admit on that subject.

Pogo said...

It's very un-PC to say Indian-giver anymore isn't it?

And, Palladian's arguments aside, I find men on the whole to be rather ugly critters. I am glad that most females are attracted to the XY face and figure but be honest, on the whole and in comparison, males are a rather homely bunch.

Men are a fairly good argument for atheism. The Holy Spirit probably said "God, you cannot be serious. Really? OK, whatever. It's your show."

Simon said...

former law student said...
"They seem equally attractive to me -- they both have strongly ethnic faces."

What a priori difference to attractiveness would "strongly ethnic faces" have?

Salamandyr said...

Notice we have to make things up to make this woman sympathetic. "Probably he was controlling", "maybe she was sick of being grateful".

Maybe he was a wonderful guy turned bitterly vengeful by a grasping harpy who in addition to denying him access to the children he loves, took more than the metaphorical pound of flesh. Suppositions work both ways.

Tibore said...

"Pogo said...
This sort of ruined the movie Seven Pounds for me now."


Oh, so that's what that movie was about. Sleeping with your therapist.

Couldn't tell from the trailers.

;)

Darcy said...

PatHMV said...Withholding the kids is almost always inappropriate, of course, but I've seen enough friends go through divorce to know that there is ALWAYS much more going on than either side will admit on that subject.

Well, it's always good to know the reason before judging. But it had better be a damned good reason, and not just spite or anger, which is usually the reason. That's not only cruel, it is abuse of the children. Evil, really.

theobromophile said...

To be slightly more serious: giving an organ to your wife can be a wonderful gift. Even if you are suffering years later, with the adverse health effects that can come from having only one kidney, it's okay -- your wife is there, alive, beside you.

Divorce changes all that. This guy sure wasn't volunteering to give his kidney to save some random person's life (as almost no one does that), and he sure as hell wasn't doing it to save the life of someone who would take his children away from him. Whether he's a jerk or a saint, or something in between, a divorce court ought to recognise that his life will be forever changed because of what he did during the marriage. The gift wasn't just to some woman who needed a kidney; it was to his wife.

Maybe she's sick of being grateful, or of being ill, or of his crap, but she's still living a much, much better life because he anticipated that they would be together until they died.

David said...

Well, I'm not giving any kidneys, because I have only one left.

I agree with Althouse. It's all about self-justification and revenge, which rise from complicated sources. Winning points in the money tussle is method of self-justification.

Those who conduct divorce by press release and press conference are not generally fountains of truthful analysis.

The best thing I figured out in my divorce was that the opinions of my children were the only opinions that mattered. I also learned that their opinion was based on the present and the future, not the past.

PatHMV said...

Darcy, agreed, but my point is more that all we have is that characterization of his.

I've seen pissed off ex-husbands claim that their ex-wives were withholding the children, when what really happened was that she wouldn't agree to let him drop by at the last minute on a school night (that wasn't part of the visitation schedule) to take the kids out to dinner with him and his new girl. Or that it was denying access to the kids because she wouldn't change the previously agreed-upon plans to drive 30 miles out of her way to take the kids to his mother's house for his visitation time, because he had a date.

So I don't trust one side's characterization of much of ANYTHING in a divorce.

traditionalguy said...

The history of Divorce Law has come a long way baby since the Greatest Generation was in the 25 to 55 age range: [1]In the 1930 to 1940's Divorce was practically illeagal wihout proof of adultery or violence and the proof could not be given by the parties themselves.[2] In the late 1950's Mental Cruelty was enacted as a ground to allow a divorce which was easy to proove and opened the Divorce to anyone who wanted one, but the property disposition and Alimony was still "tried" before a jury who listened to who did what to whom.[3] In the 1970's the "no fault" grounds was introduced to avoid unnecesary embarrassment in uncontested cases but this changed nothing else and juries still tried case and listened to the fault of the Guilty party on Alimony and property division.[4] Now since the late 1990's most states actually have abolished a right to a trial by jury on asset division and alimony and you just dispose of all assets down the middle no matter how bad the facts. That is like sending the armed robber and the store clerk both to prison equally for participating in the armed robery. They call these latest changes "True No Fault Divorce". Lesson here is do not marry without a "cruelly neutral" Pre-Nup. Agt.

David said...

"Whether he's a jerk or a saint, or something in between, a divorce court ought to recognise that his life will be forever changed because of what he did during the marriage. The gift wasn't just to some woman who needed a kidney; it was to his wife."

Well, just how should the court "recognize" this? By putting a value on the kidney and then giving her half? That's what they would do if he had given her a car, or 500 shares of Exxon. They would be part of the marital estate and subject to division.

How do you value a kidney? Plus you aren't really valuing the kidney, you are valuing her life. That gets rather metaphysical. Is her life less valuable if she is a slut? Is his life less valuable because he has only one kidney?

I have one kidney because of a congenital defect that killed the other kidney a few years ago. Is my life less valuable? (Plus my life is not "forever changed"--it's really not changed at all, since one kidney works fine.)

Not everything can or should be monetized. This guy did a fine thing for his wife, but he did not expect money when he gave up the kidney and should not expect it now.

Ann Althouse said...

"How do you value a kidney?"

If a kidney is worth $1 million, a lot of people would be willing to sell, but supposedly that would be terribly wrong, allowing people to sell their organs. Therefore, it's worth nothing. Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?

walter neff said...

"Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?"

Wow, you really want to prove that she is a whore.

Lem said...

She offered him some of her liver as a counter offer ;)

Shanna said...

This guy did a fine thing for his wife, but he did not expect money when he gave up the kidney and should not expect it now.

But what happens if she is the one who expects money? Can’t you just say it should be already done and paid for.

And no one is saying that the life of someone with only one kidney is somehow worth less. The extra kidney seems to be kind of an insurance policy against one of them failing or being damaged. If his kidney were to fail or he were in some accident or whatever, his life could be in more danger because he gave his up to her.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark O said...

However one spins this, she is a fairly foul creature. Mostly, for showing her nature in the withholding of her children from their father.

We should not forget, however, the role of state and federal welfare in assisting women in securing children and child support to prevent them from claiming some public funding. It is really, all about the money in these proceedings and to decribe the cases as justice is to acknowledge that you know nothing about "family" courts or proceedings.

But, I don't see that either one has said anything untruthful, it's just that some people would prefer not to know that there are such folks about.

Meade said...

"Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?"

Come to think of it, that might solve multiple issues here. Especially if there are video tapes:

The Batistas both become quite wealthy as the tapes circulate and they collect royalties. Porn industry suddenly no longer needs a government bailout. A Chinese pirated tape viewed somewhere in India leads to a kidney donation for Richard and the poverty-stricken Indian donor becomes a national television sensation with his own realty show, "Who Wants to Marry a Millionare With Only One Kidney And Not A Lot Of Common Sense?."

The children all go live with responsible aunts and uncles who protect them from the prying public, the gossip rags, and their own two ethics-challenged parents.

Althouse -- you, madam, are brilliant!

peter hoh said...

In response to this:
[The marriage was already failing when he donated the kidney.]

Zach said...
Odd use of the passive voice there. Clearly the marriage was still strong enough for the wife to ask for the kidney, or for him to offer.

I think you are making too big an assumption, Zach. The story gives no evidence that Dawnell asked for her husband's kidney.

A gift is a gift. It is not a bargaining chip.

I'm with Ann on this one. Marriage is complicated. Much of it belongs behind a veil of privacy. A marriage based on unwilling obligation will not succeed.

That's not to condone the affair.

I agree with Pogo that were the situation reversed, Dawnell would be on Oprah, on her way to sainthood.

Sure, the situation sucks, but I'm not sure that Richard is helping himself with this public statement.

peter hoh said...

The whole sordid story reminds me of a quip regarding the same-sex marriage issue:

"Marriage for gays and lesbians? Haven't they suffered enough already?"

craig said...

Reminds me of the story arc on Lost where John Locke's absentee father shows up, convinces Locke to donate a kidney, then wants nothing to do with him. If I were Dr. Batista, I would avoid air travel between Australia and Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

IIt is clear that Althouse has an agenda that is clouding her perspective on this.

Even if it is all about money and the desire to humiliate, are those two desires any more unsavory than being an adulteress whore? At least his actions were in response to her cheating and withholding of his children. That is, he was pushed to this point.

To those who think that they are of equal attractiveness, what are you looking at? He is not a very attractive man. She saw MD, and settled until something better came along.

Cedarford said...

Note that she'll have a hard time responding to him in the press. I would rather draw the curtain, since we have no way to hear the full story.

Ann sez after opening the curtain on her blog.....

DBQ - The moral of this: the man has no rights or consideration in a divorce. All the sympathy and advantages go to the woman, despite the fact that she is a skank and whore.

I think at least, the common perception is that feminists may have failed in every other venue, but they have successfully rigged the family courts to be a reliable source of injustice to the male spouse.
To do this they have poured their activists - both lawyers and non-lawyers - into the "struggle". To both say that women are traditional helpless creatures the Courts must protect from the callous male beast and need the home, the kids almost by default, alimony..and combine that with "liberating things" of feminism. Like the ability to get an abortion with absolutely no stake for the married male sire in the matter. The presumption the man is guilty and should be the party arrested in any family dispute. like the ability to cheat on the man freely, even shack up with a well-off lover for years and expect that child support check to arrive....and even if they screw with visitation rights...know the feminist-influenced family courts have their back. The woman is almost always right!!

Althouse - Therefore, it's worth nothing. Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?

He gave a kidney, but that is just another item of "sacrifice" and value added similar to her willingness to have consensuual sex with him??.(not factoring in her "sacrifice" and "value" in fucking several other men while married..)
If women are all natural whores and want a value placed on sex, (pro-rated based on looks, age, and an independent assessment by a lawyer or therapist on the vigor and quality of the females sex so the aplicable prostitute rate could be applied) - then all transactions in a marriage would have to be considered a commodity.

Althouse is going down a path familiar to her fellow distinguished lawyer, Eliot Spitzer..

blake said...

Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?

Why not, indeed!

Let's see 18 years...52 weeks a year...average of 3 times a week--I think we should use the average here, as anything over should count as potential expression of true affection--2,808 times, take the $1M value of the kidney and the $1.5M cost of the operation...

So, about $900 per sexual encounter which for a not very attractive (as you say) woman is a rather high amount to command. Perhaps she could have gotten $500 in her 20s, but I think we're still looking at a balance of at least a million, and possibly close to two.

The court should probably also weigh any "special talents" she has that might have commanded a premium in the fetish market.

I mean, if we're analogizing marital sex as a complete sacrifice on the level of donating a kidney.

Meade said...

But Blake, how it that fair? It's 2009, man.

It's about time she paid him for his sexual services to her don't you think? He's had a full-time job as a surgeon AND, in his off hours, he has seen to her sexual needs.

And come to think of it, on top of what she owes the doc, she owes the pool boy/therapist SOMEthing. I mean, it certainly sounds like he put out. Where is his compensation?

I'd say she needs to find an earning asset PDQ.

Synova said...

I've seen pissed off ex-husbands claim that their ex-wives were withholding the children, when what really happened was...

I've seen pissed off ex-wives act the victim when their ex-husband wanted to change visitation in order to have his kids on a non-Guard weekend. Not last minute. Regular as anything, but she chooses to enforce the court ordered dates because she can... and she *wants* to. Because sticking it to her ex-husband is more important than the fact that her kids are going to spend an entire weekend with an unknown baby-sitter.

I've driven a man and his children to Chuck-e-cheese the day before he deployed for a year in Korea, because he freely and willingly gave his ex the car he couldn't take overseas and she wouldn't let him use it. Because it was hers and she could keep him from it and it was more important to her to stick it to him than to make sure her children, who loved their dad, got to see him one last time.

This was the Dad who loved them enough to refuse to dispute child support or bring into the divorce proceedings the fact that one of "his" children was conceived while he was over seas... because he couldn't bear the thought of that child feeling unwanted or unloved.

I dolled up for that one, put on something pretty, waved and smiled at the fat bitch when we picked up her kids. I wanted her to think I was sleeping with him. She deserved to think so.

mcg said...

The man with whom Dawn Batista had an affair sez that Richard Batista is a "wackadoo." (cf. the NY Post article with the wedding picture.) No comment, really, I just thought that was hilarious.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why is everyone assuming that she had the affair?

She says it's a lie, and the physical therapist had this to say,

The physical therapist, David Cazalet, vehemently denied the accusation.

"We're friends - we've never had an affair," he insisted, calling Batista a "big monster."


And Batista says this in the Daily News article:

"She slapped me with divorce papers when I was in surgery trying to save another person's life," he fumed.

Well, hello, you're a surgeon. If anyone brings you anything while you're at work, there's a good chance you'll be in surgery.

Honestly, between his own quotes and the press conference, he sounds overweening and manipulative. I could be wrong. I don't know him. But I don't have any reason to believe him over anyone else.

As for the custody thing, again, I don't know anything about this guy. Maybe there's a good reason for his kids to see less of him. Or maybe his ex-wife is a malevolent jerk. Who knows? There's nothing to establish it either way.

And as for the kidney, of course he gave her the kidney. Who wouldn't? As Shanna pointed out, this is the mother of his children. Even if you were already divorced, would you deny a life-saving kidney for your children's parent. Who would do that? "Oh, I'm sorry, I had to let your Mommy die because I don't like her anymore."

I'm no great defender of women in divorce. I've seen too many women leave marriages to "find themselves," and the rest of the garbage you see in divorces. But that doesn't mean that all individual men deserve to be defended. You take things case by case based on the evidence. No evidence is established in this case except that this guy held a press conference and painted himself in the most pitiable light possible. I am not impressed.

PatHMV said...

Synova... no question at all that there's asshole women out there and asshole men. That's my whole point. If all we heard was the side of the story told by one of the nasty women you describe, we'd probably all be saying what a jerk the man was... because she wouldn't bother to tell us he wanted to change the weekend because of his Guard duty, or whatever. All she would report would be that the SOB had a babysitter watch the children for his entire weekend of visitation. That would be true, but exceedingly incomplete, and an unfair characterization.

My point is simply that his claim that she is withholding the children from him really shouldn't be taken at face value without knowing much more. We can't automatically assign Dr. Batista to the "good guy screwed over by the woman-biased court system" category simply based on his say-so.

PatHMV said...

Good points, Freeman.

As with a great many divorces, we really can't tell which is the "good" party and which the "bad" party without knowing a WHOLE lot more.

As I've said repeatedly, I don't even take at face value his claim that she is preventing him from seeing their children. All we have is his claim, which is summarized by one of the papers as being that she has "prevented" him from seeing them "for months at a time." Even if it is true that he has gone months without seeing the kids, that may or may not be her fault. Kids those ages have busy lives with homework, parties to attend, friends to sleep over with.

Part of the inevitable pain of divorce is that one of the parties just isn't going to get to see their kids nearly as often.

Michael said...

The entire affair (no pun intended ) is rather bizarre, but I did get a kick out of this from Freeman:

"Well, hello, you're a surgeon. If anyone brings you anything while you're at work, there's a good chance you'll be in surgery."

I find it hard to believe many documents (or how about a nice gift?) are delivered to surgeons while they're actually performing surgery, and Freeman's opinion that performing surgery is on par with being in your office or on the loading dock or whatever...is pretty silly.

Michael said...

I once gave a woman a liver, but even with the onions I still found it too dry.

Freeman Hunt said...

Michael, do you really think that someone actually entered the operating room and handed him documents? I doubt it. I would assume that he means the documents were brought to his office while he was in surgery.

Michael said...

"Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?"

Good grief...you're kidding, right?

Was HE the only one taking part or enjoying the act?

How about how many times he took out the trash or she vacuumed the carpets?

Michael said...

Freeman, no I would assume the man was not performing surgery at the time of delivery, but I based my comment on your posting of this:

HIM: "She slapped me with divorce papers when I was in surgery trying to save another person's life," he fumed.

YOU: "Well, hello, you're a surgeon. If anyone brings you anything while you're at work, there's a good chance you'll be in surgery."

It sounds like YOU thought he was performing surgery...

john said...

former law student said -

Thanks.

Rosie Perez weds Tony Orlando.


No silly, it's Tony Orlando and Dawn(ell).

Freeman Hunt said...

Michael, try to follow me here:

There he is performing surgery. Someone comes to bring him papers. The front desk says, "He's in surgery right now, but you can leave them with me, and I'll give them to him when he finishes." The papers are left. Batista finishes the surgery and heads back to his office. Someone comes into his office with papers and say, "This was left for you while you were in surgery."

Thus, he can both be performing surgery and have someone bringing him papers, though not into the operating room, at the same time.

Michael said...

Freeman, I understand what you're TRYING TO (retroactively) SAY, but that isn't what you actually said:

HIM: "She slapped me with divorce papers when I was in surgery trying to save another person's life," he fumed.

YOU: "Well, hello, you're a surgeon. If anyone brings you anything while you're at work, there's a good chance you'll be in surgery."

And I did say that I didn't believe the man was actually performing surgery...didn't I?

Get a life.

Freeman Hunt said...

Michael, only a fool would interpret what I wrote that way.

Which, it suddenly occurs to me, explains your comments.

mcg said...

MIchael, what the fuck are you still doing here, and what the fuck are you doing picking such an insufferably little nit? Run out of pimples on your ass to pop?

Oligonicella said...

Synova, you've just been placed on my "Gals I consider heroines" list. Cool move.

theobromophile said...

I was afraid there for a moment that someone was trying to appropriate/mock my identity, especially my Twitter ID of [theobromophile].

Ditto that. Maybe y'all can just call me "chocolate lover" and save the "Theo" stuff for those whose screen names are related to some form of deism. ;)

As for a valuation of the kidney: courts place values upon all sorts of things that aren't for sale. Just ask any personal injury attorney. If we can try to attach a dollar value to pain and suffering, wrongful birth, wrongful death, loss of a limb, or disfigurement, why can't we try to attach the same to the loss of a kidney? (Or, if you want to be really technical about it, it would be a world in which one has both kidneys but an ex-wife on dialysis, and the world as it is.)

cubanbob said...

" Ann Althouse said...

"How do you value a kidney?"

If a kidney is worth $1 million, a lot of people would be willing to sell, but supposedly that would be terribly wrong, allowing people to sell their organs. Therefore, it's worth nothing. Why not put a value on all the times she had sex with him?
12:06 PM"

If I understand Ms. Althouse correctly, woman are always doing men a favor when they have sex with them. So what she is saying is that all woman are whores. That being the case, then should they be treated as such?

As for the kidney not having any value, if you need one and can't get one, then the value is infinite.
Let that kidney go bad and odds are she will never get another one. Living on dialysis for years and a horribly diminished life. Of all the sins one can have, ingratitude is among the worst.

Ms. Hunt stated that it would wrong of the father not to donate a kidney to the mother of his children. Of course the whore had no legal obligation to either get pregnant or give birth. Since she has no obligation to birth them he has no obligation to save her.

A wise court would have told her lady you got your life,you received more than you are entitled to and let him keep all of the monetary assets and not grant her alimony or custody. No one can claim a whore is good role model and fit to be a parent.

What is amusing in a bitter way is these feminist mentality types finding themselves divorced and in competition more often than not with better looking divorced woman for some other whores ex-husband.
They guy having been burnt is pretty cagey and now gets lots of loving for free among other benefits as long as he stays sharp and doesn't allow himself to get tied down again.

Amy L. said...

Wow, it's good to see old-fashioned misogyny is alive and well!

I read an article once talking about why so many doctors find themselves in very complicated divorces, and it basically said that most successful doctors have a natural competitive and perfectionistic streak. That, coupled with long hours and a lot of time away from home, makes it difficult to sustain a marriage. Then, when the marriage fails apart, the doctors (like all perfectionists) are humiliated by the failure and then feel they have to "win" something from the ex-spouse in order to regain face. The guy in NYC who blew up his townhouse - with himself in it - a few years ago was a doctor in the midst of a bitter divorce. The guy who injected his toddler son with AIDS was a doctor who didn't want to pay child support. This guy could give a crap about the kidney and could probably give a crap about his wife - this is about winning, and wanting to be the victor in a situation where really the only victors are those who choose not to fight. There are children involved here who don't deserve to lose their mother or their father, but IMO are better off without a father as ruthless and vindictive as this.

It's pretty amazing that the old Madonna/whore double standard lives and breathes, after all this time. Some commenters seem to think that love or marriage is actually a form of ownership. If I gave my husband a kidney and then the marriage broke up, I wouldn't want the kidney back. I don't own him. Like Goldie Hawn said about the reason why she never married Kurt Russell, "I just think that nobody owns anybody." Being married to the doctor didn't mean the wife wasn't entitled to live her own life, even after he gave her the kidney. He doesn't own her. Marriage should not be a form of slavery, or indentured servitude. People should do things for each other in a marriage out of love or generosity; not because they expect something in return. (Actually I think the world would be a better place if everyone did things for everyone else without expecting a return.) It's pretty sad that anyone would think that because a woman cheated on her husband, she basically deserves to die. I hope men who think like that aren't married.

In any case - I think he's going to have a hard time proving he donated the kidney as a condition of the marriage. People donate organs to strangers all the time. And putting a monetary value on an organ opens up a can of worms I don't think the judicial system is going to want to open, and that (most importantly) there's no precedent for opening.

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