Kid­ney trans­plant goes “smoothly” for Ed­die John­son and son

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Re­porter Con­tribut­ing: Mitchell Ar­men­trout, Ste­fano Es­pos­ito Email: mdudek@ suntimes. com Twit­ter: @ mitch­dudek

Chicago Po­lice Supt. Ed­die John­son and his son were do­ing well Wed­nes­day evening af­ter the top cop’s “suc­cess­ful” kid­ney trans­plant op­er­a­tion, of­fi­cials said.

“Ev­ery­thing went smoothly and as ex­pected for both donor and re­cip­i­ent,” Rush Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter spokesman John Pontarelli said in an email.

“Su­per­in­ten­dent John­son is in fair con­di­tion: vi­tal signs are sta­ble, he is con­scious and com­fort­able, and in­di­ca­tors are fa­vor­able,” Pontarelli said.

John­son’s donor, his 25- year- old son Daniel, was in good con­di­tion. It is ex­pected to take about six weeks for the pair to re­cu­per­ate.

The three- hour op­er­a­tion was per­formed by Dr. Martin Hertl and Dr. Ed­ward Hollinger.

As he walked into the hospi­tal Wed­nes­day morn­ing be­fore surgery, Ed­die John­son seemed light­hearted.

When asked by a re­porter to re­flect on the sur­real con­cept of hav­ing his son’s kid­ney sewn into his body, John­son smiled.

“Well, part of me is in him, you know, so he’s just giv­ing it back to me,” he said.

“I just hope I don’t get the urge to do the things that col­lege kids do,” he said, pok­ing at Daniel, a grad­u­ate of Knox Col­lege.

John­son, 57, has beamed with a lot of fatherly pride re­cently. Daniel, who cur­rently works as an el­e­men­tary school teacher, is in the process of ap­ply­ing to be­come a Chicago cop. He stood be­side his dad Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

John­son, who has bat­tled a chronic kid­ney dis­or­der for years, said healthy eat­ing and 40 min­utes of cardio ex­er­cise daily for the last seven months have left him 50 pounds lighter. “That’s a good thing,” he said. John­son also took a mo­ment Wed­nes­day to talk about or­gan do­na­tion.

“There’s a lot of great peo­ple that still have con­tri­bu­tions to make to this world, un­for­tu­nately they have dif­fer­ent is­sues they have to deal with in terms of or­gan do­na­tion. So you know I look at God gave us all two kid­neys and maybe he gave us two so you could let some­one bor­row one if they need to. So I just want peo­ple to know that you can change some­body’s life, ab­so­lutely change some­body’s life by do­nat­ing.”

Hospi­tal of­fi­cials said they would pro­vide an up­date on the John­sons’ con­di­tion Thurs­day morn­ing.

Typ­i­cally, the sur­vival rate of kid­ney re­cip­i­ents af­ter one year is 95 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Dr. John Fung, director of the Univer­sity of Chicago Medicine Trans­plan­ta­tion In­sti­tute, which per­forms about 100 kid­ney trans­plants an­nu­ally.

If the pa­tient sur­vives the first year, there’s a 50 per­cent chance the kid­ney will still be work­ing 10 years later, he said. That jumps to 66 per­cent af­ter 10 years if the kid­ney comes from a liv­ing donor, Fung said.


Chicago Po­lice Supt. Ed­die John­son, who was re­ceiv­ing a kid­ney from his 25- year- old son, ar­rives with fam­ily mem­bers at Rush Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

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