A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Why the Kidney Divorce Drama Matters

Posted by tothewire on January 19, 2009


By now, you’ve probably heard the story of the Long Island surgeon who is suing his estranged wife for the kidney he donated to her. If it can’t be returned, he wants the $1.5 million dollars he believes it is worth.

For most of us, this is just tabloid fodder, but in her latest Doctor and Patient column, Dr. Pauline Chen says the case is representative of the “extent to which money has become enmeshed with medicine.” She writes, “Many of us reading, listening to and even writing about the story,­ myself included — accepted the premise long enough to wonder how (they) came up with that high a figure or if it was even physiologically possible for him to take back the kidney.”

Dr. Chen goes on to describe her first kidney transplant operation with a living donor, and how difficult it is to place a value on the transaction.

The experience was nothing short of extraordinary. And like the very act of donating an organ, the kidney itself was hardly glamorous, demanding nothing in return for its miraculous work. It was a sturdy organ –­ pink, firm as a small rubber ball, and shaped much like the kidney beans you’d find at a restaurant salad bar…. It was, I remember thinking that morning, a gift of life. But it’s a gift, according to some, that can be assessed for as much as $1.5 million or as little as $20,000 or less.

For more, read the full column, “Putting a Price on Compassion,” and then join the discussion below.


4 Responses to “Why the Kidney Divorce Drama Matters”

  1. RJ said

    I think this is really silly. I mean, if the law goes for this, then upon divorce, we should just ask for EVERYTHING back that would restore us to our pre-marriage selves.

    Yes, your honor, he took my LIFE away during most of the marriage, he turned me into a housewife, mother and angry bitch, I want it restored at a value of $5mil.


  2. ajlouny said

    The key word is Donated.


  3. obama the antichrist said

    o all too funny RJ!


  4. Rj said

    the word “donation” has evolved in the context of divorce…or so a psychologist or lawyer may tell you…


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