Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson on Friday confirmed he is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
The operation, not yet scheduled, would require him to be off work for three to five weeks, Johnson said. His need for a kidney transplant was first reported by the Sun-Times.
“I do not require dialysis, nor do I have diabetes,” Johnson said, adding that until he gets the transplant, “with the blessing of my doctors,” he will stay on the job.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Johnson let him know about his kidney problems early on.
“From Day 1, he’s been upfront with me about his health conditions,” the mayor said at the Friday night news conference. “I’ve always been confident in his ability to do the job and I’ve seen it up close.”
City Hall sources earlier refused to say if Emanuel knew about Johnson’s condition before appointing him superintendent.
The superintendent held the news conference at CPD headquarters after falling ill and losing his balance during a news conference at a South Side police station earlier in the day.
Johnson said he was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, a kidney condition, 32 years ago at age 25. He found out he had it while taking the CPD entrance exam, according to department spokesman Frank Giancamilli.
“It hasn’t affected my ability to lead a normal life or to be your superintendent,” Johnson said. He’s on a waiting list through the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. The transplant would take place at Rush University Medical Center.
Johnson said he fell ill because “I took blood-pressure medication on an empty stomach, which is something you shouldn’t do. … As a result, I got lightheaded” and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center for evaluation.
Dr. Paul Crawford, Johnson’s physician, also spoke at the Friday news conference, saying Johnson’s condition improved quickly once he was at the hospital.
Johnson said had had been admitted to the hospital in November for a spike in his potassium levels.
SOURCE: Fran Spielman, Frank Main and Sam Charles