Residential Mold Exposure Leads to Tenant Health Issues

This case study explores a situation where a couple experienced health issues allegedly due to mold exposure in their rental unit.

ByWendy Ketner, M.D.


Published on February 29, 2024

Apartment mold

Case Overview

This case study delves into a situation involving a couple who relocated to a rental unit. Shortly after their move, they identified water damage and an inadequately functioning HVAC system in their new home. In due course, they started experiencing health issues such as vertigo, migraines, coughing, congestion, and sinusitis.

A subsequent investigation revealed mold growth in one of the closets within the unit. The central allegation is that this mold exposure was the root cause of the couple's physical symptoms. The key challenge lies in establishing a causal link between the presence of mold and the health complications experienced by the tenants.

Questions to the Toxicology expert and their responses


Could you provide some insight into your professional background in mold toxicology, particularly concerning examining residential mold specimens?

As a double-boarded Emergency Medicine Physician and Clinical Toxicologist, my expertise encompasses mold-related disorders, pathology, health effects, and treatments. My approach to assessing patient exposure involves considering medical history, allergen reactivity, and symptoms alongside any physical evidence of mold.


What materials would be necessary for you to review to determine the type of mold growing in the rental unit?

To ascertain the type of mold present in the rental unit, I would primarily rely on visual evidence such as photographs of the mold or water-damaged building. Although spore counts and culture results can suggest the type of mold, these methods may not accurately represent patient exposure. Symptoms paired with photographic evidence often provide a more reliable basis for diagnosing health problems related to mold exposure.


Have you previously reviewed cases similar to this one? If so, could you elaborate?

Throughout my career as a clinical toxicologist specializing in mold-related disorders, I have dealt with numerous cases involving residential mold exposure leading to various health issues. Each case presents unique challenges due to the diversity of patient reactions and the different types of molds involved.

The specialty requested for this case was Mold Toxicology, a field that studies toxic substances produced by molds and their impact on human health. This case highlights the importance of proper building maintenance and the potential health risks associated with mold exposure, making it a crucial topic for plaintiff attorneys dealing with personal injury or tenant rights cases.

About the expert

This expert boasts a decade of experience in toxicology and emergency medicine, with an educational background that includes a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, an MS in Clinical Toxicology, and an MD. They are certified in emergency medicine and licensed as a clinical laboratory director, holding active memberships in several professional associations such as the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Currently serving as the EMS Medical Director for an ambulance service and the Chief Medical Officer for a medical recruitment agency, this expert also holds positions as the Medical and Laboratory Director at a plasma center and as an Emergency Medicine Physician at multiple medical institutions.

Expert headshot



About the author

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Dr. Wendy Ketner is a distinguished medical professional with a comprehensive background in surgery and medical research. Currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Expert Institute, she plays a pivotal role in overseeing the organization's most important client relationships. Dr. Ketner's extensive surgical training was completed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where she gained hands-on experience in various general surgery procedures, including hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, appendectomies, mastectomies for breast cancer, breast reconstruction, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, and colorectal surgery. She also provided care in the surgical intensive care unit.

Her research interests have focused on post-mastectomy reconstruction and the surgical treatment of gastric cancer, including co-authoring a textbook chapter on the subject. Additionally, she has contributed to research on the percutaneous delivery of stem cells following myocardial infarction.

Dr. Ketner's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree from Yale University in Latin American Studies and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Moreover, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for Opollo Technologies, a fintech healthcare AI company, contributing her medical expertise to enhance healthcare technology solutions. Her role at Expert Institute involves leveraging her medical knowledge to provide insights into legal cases, underscoring her unique blend of medical and legal acumen.

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