A peer-reviewed journal that offers evidence-based clinical information and continuing education for dentists.

Dental Hygienist Receives Lifesaving Kidney From Dental Assistant


Julie Patterson, RDH, a dental hygienist at Pagett & Whetzel Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Madison, Georgia, began working with dental assistant Rachel Harrelson in 2020. With similar interests including horses and supporting their children in sports, the two became friends. Patterson had been living with immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, a kidney disease resulting from the buildup of the antibody IgA. In 2021, she discovered that her kidneys were failing and she needed a transplant. The wait for a kidney in Georgia can take up to 5 years, which would have required Patterson to start dialysis while waiting. Her medical team encourage her to find a living donor, so Patterson posted her need for a kidney on her Facebook page. Her colleague Harrelson decided to get tested and was a perfect match to Patterson. In October 2022, Harrelson donated one of her kidneys to Patterson. The dental hygienist, dental assistant, and the new kidney continue to thrive! Click here to read more.

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