HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Latest Twist on Your Body as Property

From the Daily Beast (emphasis added): 

Dr Richard Batista, from Ronkonkoma, New York, who is being divorced by his wife Dawnell, has asked she include the kidney he donated to her for transplant in the divorce settlement. Batista puts the value of the organ at $1.5 million, a court in Mineola, New York, has heard. There is little chance he will get his way. Asked how likely it would be for the doctor to either get his kidney back or get money for it, Arthur Caplan at the Centre for Bioethics, the University of Pennsylvania, said it was "somewhere between impossible and completely impossible." Robert Veatch, a medical ethicist at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics, agrees. "It's illegal for an organ to be exchanged for anything of value" because organs may not be bought or sold, he said. And as the donation of an organ is considered a gift, legally "when you give something, you can't get it back." "It's her kidney now and ... taking the kidney out would mean she would have to go on dialysis or it would kill her," Veatch said.

More can be found in The Guardian.

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