"Sick building syndrome is attributed to inadequate ventilation, chemical
contaminants from indoor and outdoor sources, and biological contaminants such
as molds, bacteria, pollens, and viruses."(Davis, 2001, CA Research Bureau)
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Read about toxic mold in an unhealthy high school sports fieldhouse
A Killer Within: NV Health Dept worker dies from mold exposure
Warning: This chronicle about how a health inspector, devoted to his job, died from a workplace mold exposure will horrify you, but we all need to be aware of just how deadly mold can be.
"Wendy and Dan Pauluk enjoy happier times, circa 2000." (LV City Life)
We encourage you to read this story, study the photos and decide for yourself if it is worth the risk to occupy a moldy environment. We don't think so - but then, we hear of stories just as terrible all year long. CDC and health department warnings do not begin to list the dangers. Regretfully, the health departments of this country are pitifully untrained and unprepared to deal with mold or other toxic exposure problems (SMH).
When you are done reading, ask yourself:
Would YOU remain in a building where you might end up like Dan Pauluk? I am sure he never imagined the tragic outcome, while he was trying to faithfully do his job and was denied a transfer to a healthier location, multiple times.
Read below and then click here to learn more about why Dan wasn't transferred.
Many dedicated teachers also do the same, until it is too late.
Many parents allow their children to remain in moldy schools - some don't know the risks, others play the odds.
Below are 2 media articles to read about how Dan Pauluk suffered and died from workplace mold. The first is a newspaper article, the second, a television news story.
When you are done reading these, we also ask that you think of how you can help stop these exposures from destroying the lives of good people like Dan. We can tell you that, at present, the CDC, OSHA, NIOSH, and EPA are not effective in communicating the dangers nor are there laws to protect individual from workplace, home, or school exposures.
Read about the stages of this illness on this article from our site, below:
WITH NO FANGS, no claws, no terrifying roar, mold is the most alien, contradictory "beast" of prey. It can't give chase, yet the spongy, often shapeless fungus hunts everywhere. Outwardly, it shows no hunger, yet its appetite is wide-ranging, occasionally sophisticated and always voracious. And although no public health official would ever sound the alarm on roaming, feral mold colonies, eyewitnesses to its attacks say some strains can ravage human flesh like a school of hungry piranha.
Nearly as old and as elemental as the Earth itself, mold has learned to survive for years in cramped, dark spaces without a meal. Eventually, either water or air (its chief environmental chauffeurs) will be along. Then, it's a quick ride back to the land of the living. And time to feed.
Hardly a finicky eater, mold feasts on civilized man's endless, if sporadic, smorgasbord of cellulose building materials and his weakness for immediate, reliable water sources -- major food supplies for many strains of fungus.
Of the thousands of mold species, two types, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys, have learned the lessons of evolution better than most, emerging as highly calibrated killing machines. Weaponized, these two molds have been used to devastating effect in biological attacks waged by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the former Soviet Union. With Stachybotrys' tendency to spew out toxins (which usually kill its host) in an effort to guard its prey from other parasites and Aspergillus' ability to hang on and infect a human body as robustly as almost no other fungi on the planet, these two toxic molds, while useful in a number of industrial and military processes, routinely prove deadly.
Often clinging to the darkness just inside walls or behind ceiling tiles, this duo also lurks silently, almost invisibly, near sewage pipes and air vents. Then, with the first blast of conditioned air or the drip of a leaky roof, the hunt is on. And what looked like just a scattering of dust along an attic crawlspace or in a hidden corner can shape shift in days into a juicy, jiggling hunk of unknowable darkness. As water triggers rapid growth, the host colony eats its fill of whatever lies beneath its newly teeming biomass. Within hours of reanimation, its reproductive factories launch millions of spores into the air, or send them off to ply the canals of trickling water leakage. Whether these spores land on drywall or human flesh matters not. Each landing zone is a banquet, and a potential home base for the newborn spores which quickly and covertly coalesce into colonies of their own.
And so it was five years ago as local health inspector Dan Pauluk sat at his desk at the Southern Nevada Health District, at first not knowing that death was cascading down on him from on high. Ironically, as he spent most days working to improve the safety of schools and other public buildings, the ceiling above and the air around him teemed with the microscopic forces invading his body. Surely, say doctors, as the spores drifted through the air and down into Dan's lungs, he felt nothing, at first. Until the mold began to eat him alive.
A LIFE INTERRUPTED
Almost a year has passed since Dan died July 17, at the age of 57, succumbing to the colonies of Aspergillus and Stachybotrys gnawing through his organs and soft tissues. Memories of the man and his infected, pain-ridden body still writhe in the hearts and minds of his grieving widow, Wendy, and his shattered children. But so does a boiling anger, a rage, they say, about a death that should have been prevented by his employers at the Southern Nevada Health District. That fury has resulted in Wendy suing the health district in district court, a case that'll soon head back before a judge after a two-month delay.
The lawsuit, filed here in December, came five months to the day after Dan's death. Wendy alleges that health officials for years covered up a persistent mold infestation at the district's Shadow Lane headquarters, where Dan worked the last few years of his life, and intimidated district employees who wanted to blow the whistle. While she's suing the district to recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars she says she spent to keep her husband alive, as well as to recover a workers' compensation claim which the district still won't honor, Wendy says Dan's former life stands in stark contrast to district officials who she maintains have lied about the dangers of mold both to her family and to the untold thousands of local parents and children who flock to the health district each year for medical care. Although the numbers of infections and deaths similar to Dan's are so small that neither federal nor state officials track the numbers, that doesn't diminish the hell she says her late husband endured.
"This was a guy who couldn't tell a lie to save his soul. Very responsible, but also very real. But they [Southern Nevada Health District] don't care, and people are still getting infected. The truth has to be revealed," says Wendy.
Southern Nevada Health District officials wouldn't comment on the Pauluks' ongoing lawsuit against them, but they deny allegations that they're hiding evidence about a supposed toxic mold infestation at their headquarters and that they callously "let" Dan die. In fact, mold was identified at the district's headquarters starting in 1998, but the district says its testing showed employees were not at risk. Still, the presence of mold required extensive cleanup at the district's offices.
Asked for his official response, health district attorney Peter Angulo says he doesn't like to "try his cases in the media."
Legal sources close to the case say this is one lawsuit that could make as many headlines as the current health scare at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, which, ironically, is just down the street from the district's allegedly contaminated offices. That's cold comfort to Wendy, who hopes that, since she can't have Dan back, she can at least honor his memory with a little justice.
For nearly 12 years, Dan, the affable family guy and conscientious employee, worked as a health inspector at the district's Henderson offices, not far from his home. Wendy remembers him as a hot-blooded romantic, doting stepfather and all-around good guy who savored life. Her husband of 17 years was, and still is, the love of her life. "We met a roller skating rink. We went to an adult night at a roller skating rink back in the Midwest where they did couples skating. From the start, we had a strong attraction," she says. After about a year of courting, the couple married. Dan, Wendy and her two children from a previous marriage, Jamie and Chrissy, set up house together. Wendy says Dan did all he could to ensure the new family gelled.
"He adopted my children as soon as we got married. He treated them as his own. Anything they needed, Dan was there," says Wendy. While she and Dan finished up their respective degrees, opportunities in Las Vegas began to open up for them both. She had a love for clinical psychology; he had a passion for public health issues, and Vegas seemed the perfect place to reinvent a stable family environment. Dan found work here, signing on with what is now called the Health District of Southern Nevada in 1988. Wendy's psychology practice began to take root. By all accounts, life was great. Dan was the dynamo helping to churn out all that joy at home. "Dan loved to laugh and have fun. He had this dry sense of humor; he had something humorous to say about almost everything. But he also had a serious side, and he is -- sorry, he was -- one of these people who's very responsible in work, in his home life and in his play," she says, pausing a handful of times to regain her composure and catch her breath.
It was a perfect scene, at least until district officials transferred Dan to their Vegas headquarters in February 2003. Until the dementia and the constant pain began. Until Dan's flesh began to ooze so much pus and infection that puddles of fluid soaked his sleeping frame each morning, ruining his bedclothes from the night before.
Until screams and cries of pain supplanted laughter and family time in the last two years of a life cut short.
Understandably, the Pauluk family's raw emotions still make it painful for them to discuss some facts of the case. But official court records, interviews with legal sources and public and private documents depict Dan as a man forced to toil in oppressive, potentially deadly conditions under supervisors whom Wendy's lawyers describe as "malicious." After his transfer, Dan was assigned to review plans for schools and other public buildings, ensuring they met all applicable health code requirements. It was rewarding work, but there were early signs that his new assignment meant trouble.
Within a matter of weeks, it was clear to Dan -- even clearer to Wendy and the kids -- that something was very wrong with him.
"He just lost his focus, very quickly. He seemed to have more confusion, couldn't pay attention and had trouble with cognitive thinking," says Wendy.
As a clinical psychologist, she recommended that Dan try Wellbutrin, which can improve mental focus. The pills didn't do much. His condition worsened.
"I knew he had just gone on to a new position; I thought, maybe, the new job was interfering. But the Wellbutrin seemed to help only in a minor fashion."
During the next year, Dan continued to struggle with confusion and lost mental focus, as well as chronic exhaustion. His use of sick time skyrocketed. He consulted with as many doctors as would see him.
Then, around March 2004, the reasons for Dan's phantom illness became clear, at least to the Pauluks. After reading in a local newspaper that local health officials had recently closed the Children's Oasis childcare facility because of the presence of toxic mold, Dan began to wonder whether festering mold colonies in his own office might be causing his illness. Months of research followed. So did continued doctor visits. He and other employees had seen multiple water leaks on ceiling tiles around their section of the building. Others in Dan's wing of the building had also complained of eye irritation and difficulty breathing.
Based on these symptoms, which a growing number of researchers now tie to toxic mold exposure, an infestation made sense, he told friends and family.
As his illness began to take hold, mental impairment gave way to physical pain and loss of musculoskeletal control. Some days, Dan had trouble walking. Other days, simple speech was a chore. Dan began to forget things. Like where he was, or what he was doing.
Finally, in late 2005, one local doctor finally thought he had an answer for the Pauluks. It was then that Dr. Naresh Singh found Dan's body to be infected with both Aspergillus and Stachybotrys. Multiple blood tests performed by local and national specialists (at least one of which came after Dan's death) confirmed Singh's assessment.
Dan's flesh was riddled with mold colonies, which were still growing, constantly infused (Dan and his doctor believed) with fresh spores growing in his health district office. With constant darkness and an endless supply of water and nutrient-rich bodily fluids, Dan's internal tissues were the ideal breeding ground for the billions of mold spores now circulating in his system. As the spores gathered into colonies to feed on Dan's flesh, time was running out. Something had to be done. Dan had to get out of there.
"In other situations, when this has become a problem, the employer has usually complied, sometimes reluctantly, but they've complied, and relocated the patient to another workplace," Singh told one reporter who first covered Dan's case back in 2006.
But not health district officials. Court documents and Pauluk family members say they shrugged off his requests, even becoming enraged as the man from Henderson tried to save his own life by asking repeatedly for transfers - requests backed by official letters from his doctors.
However, earlier press coverage reports that health district officials knew about their mold problem - and how it was harming employees. "Dan is the third current active employee with this specific diagnosis ..." reads one internal district e-mail, sent in September 2005 from the district's human resources office. An even earlier message, sent by Dan's supervisor in March 2004 reads, " ... The mold spores make Dan's assigned desk an unpleasant and unhealthful place to work. I frankly do not understand why the roof itself cannot be fixed to eliminate this problem."
On Oct. 14, 2005 -- nearly 19 months after Dan first requested a transfer -- his employers let him leave Shadow Lane and, eventually, retire early based on his medical condition.
During the next 18 months, documents show Dan's symptoms worsened at an ever-increasing clip.
Confusion and loss of bodily control expanded to even more severe exhaustion, cysts on his internal organs and skin, loss of breath and a painful, persistent rash over most of his body. The rash -- which doctors say was actually the mold inside his body finally beginning to eat through his flesh -- wracked Dan with pain day and night.
"His last years of life were absolutely horrible," says Wendy. "He'd scream, he'd cry, he'd weep. Every morning before work, I'd change his dressings, then videotape him to show what had changed from the night before."
Massive, constantly oozing sores covered his body. The sour stench from Dan's sores was atrocious. His screams in the night were heartbreaking.
"He got worse very quickly. He'd get new sores, new breakouts. These sores would drain and 'weep' a fluid that stank. The fluid would [soak] the bed sheets. Sometimes, Dan would be stuck to the bed, and we couldn't get him off of it. He ruined all of his clothes. I had to throw away two beds, including a $4,000 Sleep Number bed," she says.
Singh also expressed shock that health district supervisors didn't transfer Dan back in 2004, after his first request.
"It was kind of a callous, uncaring mentality. Having mold and having a problem in the building should be of big concern, so I'm saddened that that was not perceived by them," he told reporters.
And then, more than four years after the mold spores first entered his body, Dan succumbed. He died at home on July 17, 2007, surrounded by family. His wife at his side. Wendy says he went peacefully. An autopsy she paid for came back with Dan's official cause of death: mixed mold mycotoxicosis, or poisoning from a blend of toxic mold.
TRAPPED IN THE OFFICE
Perhaps more shocking than the fact that his supervisors refused to grant Dan a transfer from their Shadow Lane offices is that, by the time he retired in late 2005, documents show that health officials had known of a mold problem there since at least 1998.
In their defense, district officials point to a series of toxicology studies from 2005, 2006 and 2007 that, they say, prove employees on Shadow Lane were never at risk from the Aspergillus and Stachybotrys repeatedly found in their Shadow Lane offices.
"There is a report that some of these types of mold spores were identified in 2005 and 2006, but the 2005 results were not in any different levels than was found in outside air in Las Vegas, while the 2006 report suggested that type of mold was not airborne, but limited to a small surface area and was consistent with a roof leak and deemed not unusual," says district spokeswoman Stephanie Bethel.
Of the four studies cited by Bethel, three report mold in the health district's Shadow Lane offices, but at levels significantly lower than those found in outside, ambient air. At least one study, conducted Dec. 13, 2006, found strains of both Aspergillus and Stachybotrys, but not at levels, she says, that would normally pose a human health risk.
But at least six additional environmental studies from private firms, government teams and UNLV microbiologists (who, coincidentally, hold a patent for developing high-tech methods of detecting Aspergillus and Stachybotrys) tell another story.
As early as October 1998, according to documents obtained by CityLife, UNLV scientists had found Stachybotrys on some of the building's ceiling tile during and after renovation work on the building. But they found no airborne spores.
Officials with the health district insist that in-house maintenance crews regularly clean the Shadow Lane facility, replace air filters and "remove or clean any areas that could pose a legitimate health hazard to ... employees or the public."
That fall, after repeated employee complaints of illness and Sick Building Syndrome, another firm went inside the Shadow Lane offices to look for mold. Again, inspectors found Stachybotrys infusing ceiling tiles - this time, alongside fresh Aspergillus spores. According to these same documents, inspectors were so concerned about the mold at Shadow Lane, they summoned a so-called remediation crew to the site.
"We set up full isolation and decon[tamination] chambers ... we removed and double bagged all suspected [materials] and left the isolation barriers up for the [then] Clark County Health Department maintenance crew to install new drywall," writes John Terranova, president of Terra Nova Inc., the Vegas-based environmental firm that found the toxic mold a second time.
No matter how often crews cleaned up the mold, however, fresh colonies seemed to have little trouble growing in the Shadow Lane offices. In the ensuing years, additional inspection teams at Shadow Lane found still more toxic mold there.
In mid-March 2003, documents show UNLV microbiologists descended on Shadow Lane to again hunt for Stachybotrys. They found it in the same hallway where Dan had begun working a month earlier.
Although UNLV scientists prepared no final written report for health officials at the time, an internal UNLV document states that the biologists did call district personnel, urging them to decontaminate the area.
Further, court documents allege that, in May and August of 2004, ceiling tiles and air-conditioning vents at the Shadow Lane offices tested positive for both Stachybotrys and Aspergillus. Both molds were found less than 20 feet from Dan's desk.
Before he died, Dan kept the kinds of immaculate records that have helped form the legal backbone of Wendy's claim against the health district. From copious hand-written notes on clashes with health district officials to homemade blueprints of district headquarters (and detailed notes on where inspectors found mold living in those same Shadow Lane offices), Dan's homework speaks from beyond the grave.
One of the most interesting items? A list of more than a dozen current and former health district employees (according to Wendy and family friends who've reviewed the items with CityLife) who also either got sick or succumbed to catastrophic illnesses while working at Shadow Lane. None of those employees would speak on the record to CityLife.
If the court decides in her favor during her upcoming lawsuit, Wendy says the money will help pay for Dan's still outstanding medical bills, now in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But a ruling for Dan would also, strangely, redeem his suffering -- and might prevent others from living the nightmare the Pauluks endured for more than four years.
She's not doing this for the cash, she says. She's going after the health district for the public good -- and because it's what Dan wanted.
"On his deathbed, Dan said, 'Wendy, please follow through with this lawsuit and stop [what's] going on in the health district.' That was his dying wish. Dan was a very honest guy, and he always did what was right. That's why he got in trouble," she says.
If she loses the lawsuit, it won't really matter. By taking the district to court, Wendy says she's following the moral example set for her by the greatest man she's ever known. By going to court, she feels she's still able to take care of Dan, of his memory. Dan would have done the same for her, she says.
"He was always so concerned about everyone else. He always wanted to know how everyone else was doing. He took the focus off of himself and put it on other people, even to his dying day. That's just the kind of guy he was."
Hardly a day goes by when we at News 3 don't receive a complaint about mold in our valley, making people sick in their homes, or where they work. And, there's not much known about how to treat mold-related illnesses. Even doctors disagree about how dangerous mold really is.
But as News 3 Investigators found, the health effects from mold exposure can be life threatening. A man we met may be dying simply because of where he went to work every day.
This man devoted much of his life to protecting others, making sure everything in their environment was healthy. But now, because of that devotion, he's suffering from an infection that may lead to his death. You'll never believe where he got it, how long they knew about the problem, and how little they did to fix it.
"Most of this I used to take. It doesn't really help me now." 56 year old Dan Pauluk is on permanent disability. His life is a series of pills and elixirs, including an $1100 bottle of, literally, liquid gold.
It all contains hope that something just might work to kill what he believes is killing him. "No doctor has been able to tell me there's a cure," said Dan. "No doctor has been able to tell me they know for sure what to do."
His airways are so constricted, he can hardly walk around the house. In addition, he's got problems with memory and cognitive thinking. "I flood two different places around our house because I forget to turn the water off." "Sometimes he... it's like he's not even present when we're trying to talk to him," explains Dan's wife, Dr. Wendy Pauluk. "He can't even form words in a sentence."
And, there's the rash. "I think the hardest part for me has been to hear my husband at night, for a year straight, almost every night, just scream and cry in pain in the middle of the night because he had a rash that covered his whole body," Wendy said.
The pictures are hard to look at, but they're extreme evidence of what mold spores can do. "Dan Pauluk's would have to be the worst case I have, and the worst case I've seen," says Dan's doctor, Dr. Naresh Singh.
Dr. Singh is one of the doctors who diagnosed Dan with fungal infections from the toxic molds Aspergillus and Stachybotrys.
"My research has found that this black Stachybotrys mold toxin was used, of all places, in Vietnam and Laos, and it's called yellow rain," said Dan. "They made yellow rain out of it and that killed 6,000 people. I'm sorry. This has been my life for years now. What's happened to me?"
Dan's exposure is so severe that lab tests document mold in the form of Aflatoxin in his DNA. Where did it come from? The very place that exists to protect public health where Dan worked for seven years as an inspector and environmental health specialist. It's all left him feeling...
"Betrayed, because I've been trying to protect the health of the public through an organization that I believed in so strongly."
An organization that ignored repeated pleas to protect one of their own. The News 3 Investigators obtained internal e-mails dating back to 2004 sent between supervisors in the Environmental Health Division. One, dated March 19 of that year, discusses "new evidence of possible mold in water-damaged ceiling panels directly over Dan Pauluk's work station, and in the area where the public stands for health permits."
At that time, the Environmental Health Manager asked that the materials "be tested and all appropriate action be taken to protect the health of the visiting public and those who work in this building."
The documents News 3 obtained are all you're going to hear from the Health District throughout this story. They wouldn't talk to us about either the public or their employees, saying their attorney advised them against it. That includes the recurring health threat that mold has posed over the years to everyone who enters the building.
Environmental tests commissioned by the Health District show the molds Dan's infected with were present in the main building on Shadow Lane as far back as 1998, when he first started working there. The roof leaks that caused the mold were supposedly fixed, but mold was found again in 2003, 2004 and 2005 when Aspergillus spores in Dan's work area were 25 percent higher than outside.
"They ignored that information, denied my numerous written requests to transfer out to any one of the other five satellite offices," says Dan. "Not trying to get away from my work, not trying to have any special favors, but just have a safe workplace."
It's clear the Health District knows what they're supposed to do when mold is found inside a building. Two years ago, they shut down a Children's Oasis daycare center after toxic mold was discovered from rain-related water leaks. The center was forced to close until the mold was removed and leaks were fixed. We took all this information to Board of Health member and County Commissioner Tom Collins.
"To know that they went out and closed a childcare facility on a mold issue and then to continue to keep their building open and allow their employees to get in this mess is certainly not shining a good light on the Southern Nevada Health District," Collins said.
Commissioner Collins says the Board of Health hasn't been fully informed of this issue by the Health District, and, as the oversight agency, they should have been. He's promised to investigate further, and, so do we.
Aspergillus, one of the two kinds of mold that made Dan Pauluk sick, was used by Saddam Hussein to make biological weapons. One of the reasons? Because scientists know it's difficult, if not impossible, to cure the effects of an aspergillus infection.
Part II: Your Tax Dollars Going to Fight Health District's Fight
A place that's supposed to promote health and protect the public from disease and environmental hazards is making some of its own employees sick. Darcy Spears has part two of her exclusive investigation into how the Southern Nevada Health District's failure to maintain its own environment may lead to one man's death.
Once a health inspector and environmental health specialist, Dan Pauluk is now on permanent disability after years of toxic mold exposure inside the Health District's main building. He can't walk very far, labors to breathe, and even has a hard time thinking straight.
His doctor tells us there's no cure and no question that Dan's workplace is where he got sick. But despite years of photographs, air sampling, and employee medical symptoms, the problem wasn't fixed, and some say it was covered up by Health District leaders. Now, they're using our tax dollars to fight a man who's only wish was a safe workplace.
"I'd been trying to get out of the building for nineteen months; when I first saw the black mold above my desk," explains Dan.
Pictures show the area in the Southern Nevada Health District's Environmental Health wing, where Dan Pauluk worked for years. There were repeated water leaks over his desk and in the main auditorium, where parts of the ceiling collapsed last year.
"A multi-million-dollar contract was let out to fix the roof and it was a laughing stock because we'd see them spending the money and putting some fancy stuff on the roof, but it never stopped the leaks," Dan said.
Internal Health District e-mails show Dan's continued struggle to move away from the mold. On March 23, 2004, his supervisor asked that he be, "...relocated away from the building until the concerns regarding mold are addressed." Nine months later, another e-mail between supervisors says, "...once again, we have evidence of a roof leak with water damage over Dan Pauluk's desk. The mold spores make Dan's assigned desk an unpleasant and unhealthful place to work. I frankly do not understand why the roof itself cannot be fixed to eliminate this problem."
"In other situations when this has become a problem, the employer has usually complied, sometimes reluctantly, but they've complied, and relocated the patient to another workplace," said Dan's doctor, Dr. Naresh Singh.
Dr. Singh sent letters stressing the importance of moving Dan to a different building, writing, his illness is a "...natural conclusion of his exposure to the toxic mold found present at his workplace."
"And my requests to find a healthy workplace were ignored, against medical advice," said Dan.
"It was kind of a callous, uncaring mentality," says Dr. Singh. "Having mold and having a problem in the building should be of big concern, so I'm saddened that that was not perceived by them."
And the Health District knew Dan wasn't the only one suffering. Their own human resources department sent an e-mail in September 2005 saying, "Dan is the third current active employee with this specific diagnosis. One employee is actively at work and the other is in a medical facility under constant care."
Darcy: Do you feel like your job at the Health District is gonna end up being a death sentence?
Dan: Absolutely. I was so healthy before I got assigned to the Shadow Lane office.
Dan was finally moved out of that office in mid-October 2005. Just two weeks later, he had to leave on permanent medical disability and that's when another fight for his life began. "$30,000 in medical bills that my insurance is not paying, that the workers comp insurance is not paying," Dan explains.
The Health District's insurance initially denied Dan's claim, but he won his appeal. "The judge ordered the workers comp insurance company to start paying me benefits. They don't think they have to. So they're not doing it," says Dan.
And they're continuing to use our tax dollars to fight Dan, filing appeal after appeal.
County Commissioner Tom Collins sits on the Board of Health, which oversees the Health District. "This is definitely an alarming issue," Collins told News 3.
How's this for alarming? At a hearing just a month ago... "as I was giving my testimony about how this was affecting my life and what these things do to people, the two representatives, official representatives from the Health District, that sat in the courtroom next to the lawyer for the workers comp insurance company, they were laughing consistently for an hour," said Dan.
The judge kicked Health District employees Robert Stacy and Connie Reed out of the courtroom for laughing, and once again ordered the District's insurance to pay Dan and begin immediate treatment.
"This shines some more light on maybe we need to delve deeper into what's going on over there," said Collins.
We tried, but the Health District wouldn't let us videotape the area where Dan worked.
"I have seen Dan deteriorate over the last year or so as he's been coming to me, and unfortunately I don't have any options to treat him," says Dr. Singh.
Dan's latest tests show his immune system and kidneys are beginning to shut down. Will he live to see the end of this fight? "Given the extent of his exposure, there's a possibility he may not," Dr. Singh says.
"That's what I'm expecting, is that he's gonna die from this, because he had to work in a building for the Clark County Health District that wouldn't take care of their own building and their own people," said Dan's wife, Dr. Wendy Pauluk
The Health District's lawyer told them not to talk to us for this story because Dan's worker's comp case is still open. So, that's when we took our information to the Board of Health and spoke to Commissioner Collins. He told News 3 during the last legislative session there was a desire to let the county take over the Health District because of so many problems there. If more things like this keep coming out, he says there might be another push from the legislature to disband the Health District altogether.
The Health District gave News 3 a copy of their most recent indoor air quality inspection from December, 2005, two months after Dan Pauluk was medically terminated from his job. At the time, work was still being done to fix the mold problem. The results show most samples generally had very low levels of airborne spores, but, it comes with a warning that there are currently no strict numerical guidelines which are appropriate for assessing whether contamination in an area is acceptable or not.
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Liam Haynes' ordeal with mold
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