(CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson’s near-collapse at a news conference Friday was caused by taking blood-pressure medicine on an empty stomach, not by his ongoing kidney problems, Johnson tells reporters.
Johnson confirmed reports he will need a kidney transplant.
Earlier Friday, the police superintendent was at a news conference discussing new high-tech crime-fighting techniques when he suddenly appeared woozy and had to be helped to a seat. Johnson reportedly drove himself to the hospital and was later released after getting checked out.
“He is fine & in great spirits,” Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted soon after. “Incident unrelated to a longstanding kidney issue.”
Johnson says he was diagnosed with a kidney disease at age 25 and was told his kidneys would shut down within a couple of years. In fact, he says, he took care of himself and has not required dialysis, even 31 years later. Now, however, he says, he is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant at Rush University Medical Center.
“Ironically, the way I found out about it was when I took the test to become a police officer,” Johnson recalled. “The testing came back, which led me to go see a kidney specialist.”
Once he has a transplant, he would be able to return to work within a couple of months, Johnson says.
Johnson says he has been upfront with Mayor Emanuel about his health. Emanuel tapped him last year to head the embattled Chicago Police Department.
“He’s exactly the person we want, at exactly this time for the city of Chicago,” Emanuel, standing next to Johnson, said.