Published April 24, 2012
| New York Post
The New York mother who was fired after she donated her kidney to save her boss's life demanded that the woman return the organ.
"You hate me so much, and I'm so despicable -- give me my kidney back!" wailed 47-year-old Debbie Stevens, of Long Island.
Her employer at Atlantic Automotive Group, Jackie Brucia, also 47, thanked Stevens for the gift Monday -- and then "wished her the best."
"I will always be grateful that she gave me a kidney," Brucia told 1010 WINS-AM radio. "I have nothing bad to say about her. I will always be grateful to her -- she did a wonderful thing for me."
For Stevens to get her organ back would not be easy -- and would involve at least four surgeries.
Stevens donated her kidney to the national pool because she and Brucia were not a perfect match. That gave Brucia a better shot at getting a speedy transplant.
Stevens' kidney actually was transplanted into a patient in St. Louis, and Brucia's came from San Francisco.
The scorned Stevens also insisted that the only reason Brucia rehired her in the first place is because she was a "Plan B" in case another organ donor fell through, she said.
"She used her power to manipulate me," Stevens claimed.
According to a state Human Rights Commission complaint that Stevens filed Friday, Brucia began to harass her shortly after she donated her left kidney in the fall of 2010 -- and eventually helped fire her in April 2011.
The two previously worked together at the dealership and forged a friendship in 2009. Stevens returned from Florida in 2010, and Brucia rehired her.
Now, Stevens says that her health insurance coverage will soon run out -- leaving her unable to pay future medical and psychiatric bills related to the transplant.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," she said. "I can't afford it -- it's a lot of money. I may have a hard time getting insurance because I donated a kidney. I thought I would be at that job until I retired."
The car dealership called Stevens' claims "groundless."
"Atlantic Auto treated her appropriately and acted honorably and fairly at every turn," lawyer Robert Milman said. "We expect to have this resolved favorably in the legal system."