Kidney disease in spotlight after top Chicago cop Eddie Johnson speaks up


Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, seen here on Nov. 11, 2016. (Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson received an outpouring of support after he disclosed last week that he is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant because of glomerulonephritis. Dozens of strangers and Chicago Police Department employees offered to be donors, in hopes that they would be a match for Johnson.

While the response does not necessarily mean Johnson will receive a kidney — finding a match is incredibly challenging — transplant advocates said the attention paid to his condition could help others even if it doesn't immediately help Johnson.

"Many, many more patients are in the same situation as the superintendent," said Dr. Paul Crawford, Johnson's nephrologist, or kidney specialist. "They're waiting for organs and for the public to step up to the plate and be a donor. You have to go through a screening test, but a lot of people are responding and calling and willing to donate, so that's been a very positive outcome of the announcement of the status of his kidney."

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys. When it occurs, the kidneys stop properly filtering blood and eliminating waste through urine. They begin to scar and shut down, eventually failing and resulting in potentially life-threatening complications. Continue reading