Supt. Eddie Johnson and son in good condition after kidney transplant

SHARE Supt. Eddie Johnson and son in good condition after kidney transplant

From left, Dr. Vasil Peev, transplant nephrologist, Rush Univ. Medical Center, Dr. Martin Hertl, Rush transplant surgeon, J. Kevin Cmunt, president and CEO of Gift of Hope and Dr. Edward Hollinger Jr., Rush transplant surgeon, update reporters on Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s kidney transplant. | Taylor Hartz/Sun-Times

The doctors who performed Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson’s kidney transplant said Thursday that the surgery was a success, and that the top cop is already sitting up, checking emails, and asking when he can get back on the treadmill.

“He’s back in business,” said Dr. Martin Hertl, division chief of transplant surgery at Rush University Medical Center.

Speaking at Rush, Hertl,  Dr. Edward Hollinger, Jr., and Dr. Vasil Peev said that Wednesday’s transplant procedure went as smoothly as possible and that both patients are expected to make a full recovery.

“It was an uneventful procedure, a beautiful kidney,” said Hertl, who called the aftermath “a joyous occasion.”

Johnson received a kidney from his 25-year-old son Daniel, during a three-hour operation.

The surgeries on father and son were performed simultaneously by Hertl and Hollinger.

Both men are in great condition, with Johnson’s son expected to head home Thursday and resume a a completely normal and healthy life in just a few months, the doctors said.

The superintendent is expected to leave the hospital this weekend, and doctors said that pain and risk of infection are low for this type of transplant.

“In a few days he’ll be back to normal, and normal for him is how he felt two years ago,” said Hertl. Johnson has battled a chronic kidney disorder for years, and Hertl said that prior to the transplant, his kidney function was less than 10 percent of the average person’s.

Peev called Johnson’s current kidney function “outstanding.”

Johnson, 57, will be able to start doing office work as early as next week. Peev said it will be several months before he can return to full physical activity, and that the superintendent may experience some tenderness in the area of the new kidney for four to six weeks.

Other than that, “he will have no limitations,” said Peev.

Peev added that as the new kidney begins to flush out toxins in Johnson’s system, his energy levels and overall performance will improve greatly.

Hollinger said that Johnson was feeling great Thursday morning and wished to thank the city of Chicago for all the well wishes he has received and to emphasize that “he really hopes others in Chicago will get the same gift that he’s gotten.”

Johnson has been an outspoken advocate for organ donation and a supporter of the Gift of Hope, an organ and tissue donation network in Illinois and Northwest Indiana.

Gift of Hope President and CEO J. Kevin Cmunt said that before going into surgery, Johnson assured him that, “In addition to solving all the problems of crime and violence in the city, he will remain a strong supporter of organ and tissue donation.”

Cmunt, who said there are currently 4,000 Illinois residents awaiting lifesaving transplants, urged Chicagoans to register on the Gift of Hope website for organ and tissue donation to help save more lives. 

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