Free Autographed Copy of Schizo

Everybody loves free stuff, right? Enter my Goodreads Giveaway for a free autographed copy of my new book Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Schizo by Ilene B. Benator


by Ilene B. Benator

Giveaway ends April 23, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Another 5 Star Review!

So far, all the reviews have been great. Here's another 5 star review!

(Spoilers edited out)

Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

A schizophrenic patient, Catherine, has visions of patients in terrible danger in Chicago hospitals, visions that could be dismissed out of hand as delusions, except that every detail checks out...Ilene B. Benator’s Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight is absorbingly riveting, a tale that is as seductive as it is terrifying.

[Continued on Goodreads Blog]

5 Star Review

My first completely independent review from Readers' Favorite is a 5 star review! See link for the non spoiler excerpt (the first paragraph has too many spoilers for me to publish in its entirety).

Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite...

Please pre-order on amazon via link.

The Last Chance for Romance

Some years ago, I got a chance to listen to Michael Palmer speak. He had a lot of great advice. Someone asked him what he least enjoyed about being an author. One of his answers echoed what I heard from other famous authors: going to print.
Please read the rest of this article I blogged on Goodreads.

Why bother getting a publisher?

Again, I have published on my Goodreads blog, an article about my reading/writing experience. A short excerpt:

There are a lot of talented authors who decide to self publish for many reasons. Some want all the profits for themselves. Some are not interested in playing the painful games required to get an agent and/or publisher...

Goodreads Blog

Hi there, I am linking and posting a partial of my blog that I am doing for my new book Schizo. It is on Goodreads.

Here is a partial excerpt:

First, a brief intro.

I am an Emergency Physician. And I write. I have always been writing. I recall in 2nd grade and for a few years, instead of buying a card for my grandmother, I wrote my own--creating my own poems for the inside. I wish she saved them!

(Continued at Goodreads Blog)

Also, please pre-order my book on Amazon.

MedMal Book Excerpt and Reviews

If you want to see a detailed review by Dr. Andrew M.D., J.D. of my book, "How to Survive a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit" see link. She writes, "…is one of the best books I have read on the subject…physicians should actually read it before the spectre of malpractice raises its ugly head. And then, if and when litigation strikes, read it again."

@KevinMD has posted an excerpt of my book on his blog. It is about how to prepare for the deposition. has a few pages from the beginning of my book.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 13 "Good documentation makes a difference" that you can't find anywhere else:

I've seen a lot said and written about the fact that good documentation will prevent a lawsuit. I disagree. Good documentation can go a long way to getting a defendant's verdict at trial. It might even be able to help you get your case dismissed. But good documentation rarely prevents someone from being sued.

Nevertheless, good documentation IS the cornerstone of a strong defense. But what is considered good documentation? There is a myth perpetuated amongst many physicians that the "less is more" tactic applies to their documentation. By this logic, the less you write, the less that can be twisted around and used against you.

However, juries perceive this differently. In an example of a missed brain bleed like a subarachnoid hemorrhage, it is better to mention something about it in your documentation. From the jury's point of view, it is better to consider something, use your judgment, and be wrong, than not to consider something at all. Judgment calls usually lean towards the defense.

Careless doctors who don't even consider a brain bleed end up with plaintiff's verdicts. So abandon the "less is more" guidance for chart documentation. Instead, realize that the more you write the better it is for your case.

Regarding documentation, it should go without saying, but I will say it anyway due to its extreme importance: Never alter your chart. Anytime you retroactively buff your chart, it will come back to haunt you.

Whatever you think might be damaging that you feel the need to change, is actually very defensible compared to an altered chart. Good attorneys can make bad charts appear good. Nobody can repair the damage to a case once it is revealed that you altered the chart.

Sometimes there are mistakes that were made in the documentation that you noticed long before any claim was made against you. You are permitted to correct mistakes by two methods: 1) Draw one line through it, write the word "error," then time and date the alteration. 2) Add a separate addendum. Once a claim is made, however, no addendums should be added.

There is another circumstance that deserves mention. For instance, it is possible, even likely, that your carefully prepared chart can be lost by the billers and/or medical records department. Most facilities will inform you of charts that have not yet been completed. And it is usually part of your responsibilities to your employer and/or the hospital to have fully completed charting.

If you have a situation where you are being told to prepare a chart for a patient you no longer remember, months after rendering your care, do so only if you feel you can honestly recreate a chart based on available materials at your disposal.

In this special situation, you would be better off having minimal documentation that would lead to under-billing the patient, than to have a chart that could be misconstrued as falsified. In fact, for legal purposes, it might be better to avoid any delayed charting whatsoever, and leave the documentation incomplete. This is especially true if this patient had a bad outcome and could possibly lead to a lawsuit.

Pre-Order on Amazon


Amazon site has been created with pre-order capability. Please pre-order and help my rank get started before launch.

Here's a teaser for the book:

In the same vein as Robin Cook and Michael Palmer, Dr. Ilene B. Benator crafts a terrifying medical thriller that is sure to excite.

An ambitious future surgeon on his psychiatry rotation is assigned a patient who reveals to him information about an organized plot to control the population. His pursuit of the truth leads him to become a psychiatric patient in the same facility.

Dan Greenberg was a promising medical student who was derailed by Catherine--a bizarre schizophrenic patient whose delusions about patients in danger at hospitals all around Chicago were startlingly specific.

Drawn by both curiosity and compassion, Dan investigates, discovering that they were exactly where Catherine said they would be. Who are these people? Why are they in danger? Are they connected with each other?

While incarcerated, he joins forces with an unlikely ally Jake--who murdered his family during a drug-induced psychotic break, but is also a charming hacker with street smarts who creates a plan to get Dan's life back. In his attempts to do so, he threatens to uncover a conspiracy to track and manipulate the population by a cabal of influential people who will do anything to keep their plot secret. He will learn just how far powerful people will go to stay in control, and the high price of the truth.

Schizo takes readers on a wildly unexpected journey into the what-ifs of medical science. Written by an Emergency Physician, Ilene B. Benator crafts situations that are terrifying, yet all too believable.

Ilene B Benator

New Book!

I have been holding back until all the "i's" were dotted and "t's" were crossed. And then for a cool book cover. But I cannot hold back any longer.

My first fiction novel is being published!

September 15th 2016.

Here is a quick teaser: An ambitious future surgeon on his psychiatry rotation is assigned a patient who reveals to him information about an organized plot to control the population. His pursuit of the truth leads him to become a psychiatric patient in the same facility.

And here is the cover:

An interview about medical malpractice

I recently did an interview for a podcast you can listen to, via "Freedom Formula For Physicians":



If you have any questions about what you've heard, please feel free to email me at irbrennermd at gmail

Guest post on Doctor Finances

Hi there, this is a guest post on the important subject of Doctor Finances. It is by the writer of a fantastic website The White Coat Investor. The advice, while geared towards MDs is really great for anyone who wants great advice on investing.

Come With Me If You Want To Live!

The Terminator science fiction franchise was perhaps best known for the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger phrase “I’ll be back.” However, another common phrase is used in each of the movies as the protagonists meet for the first time- “Come with me if you want to live!” Sometimes I feel like screaming that line to doctors that I see doing stupid things with their money. Sure, it’s dramatic, and I’m not going to save anybody’s life by providing a few personal finance and investing tips, but it really irks me to see wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to healing the sick and injured get taken advantage of repeatedly. Doctors have a terrible reputation for mismanaging their finances. There are several reasons why.

First, like athletes and artists, their high income is due to a particular talent, skill, or highly specialized knowledge rather than their business acumen. By the time a small business owner has an income similar to that of a doctor, he has become very familiar with the business world and its pitfalls. Not so for the doctor. He may be over 30 years old and never had a real job prior to being thrust into a top 5%, or perhaps even 1%, income.

Second, a physician education is all about medicine, not about business, finance, or investing. After 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 3-6 years of postgraduate training, the typical doctor receives about 1 hour of financial training, and that’s usually from a biased source who is trying to sell something to the doctor.

Third, doctors are busy. While most important personal finance issues are heavily front-loaded in life, and investing can be made ridiculously simple, it still requires some time to do it right. If a doctor never pulls himself away from his practice to deal with these issues, he may reach his mid 50s or even 60s and realize he’s going to be looking at a massive drop in lifestyle upon retirement.

Fourth, doctors are trusting. We’re used to calling a colleague and asking for advice and being able to trust that the colleague is competent and will put the needs of the patient first. We mistakenly assume that the rest of the world works that way. It usually not until we receive an education in the school of hard knocks that we learn that there is no Hippocratic oath taken prior to starting a financial services job.

Fifth, by virtue of their high income, physicians are literally targeted by many financial professionals. They are viewed as “the mark” or “a whale.” Realtors, mortgage lenders, insurance agents, stock brokers, and financial advisors all love to specialize in working with doctors, when in reality what they really specializing in is marketing to doctors.

Sixth, doctors tend to be overconfident. It takes a lot of self-confidence to cut somebody open or prescribe dangerous medications for life threatening conditions. Doctors assume that skill and knowledge in one area (medicine) will bleed over into the other areas of their life (like finance.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Finance has its own peer-reviewed literature, just like medicine, and most doctors don’t read it. To make matters worse, when we do make a mistake, we tend to hide it, rather than share it with colleagues. So we all have to make all of the same mistakes, over and over. Put all of these factors together, and we end up making a lot of stupid doctor tricks.

So, what is the solution? How do I help people to “live” financially if they do choose to “come with me?” Medical school is rapidly becoming more expensive. Student loans are no longer subsidized, and low interest student loans are a thing of the past. The average student loan debt is now over $200,000, and $400-500K in student loan debt for a single doctor is no longer unusual. Physicians are losing autonomy and for many specialties, incomes are falling, even without taking inflation into account. However, by optimizing their personal finances and investing, doctors can still enjoy the “good life” and obtain financial independence, that will allow them to practice medicine and live their lives in the way they choose to, rather than being a slave to their debts, their employers, and their own bad financial decisions.

The first thing I do at The White Coat Investor is provide financial education for physicians. All the stuff you wish someone had taught you in school is available, free of charge. The best part is it is available “just in time.” When you need to buy life insurance, you can read about that. When you need to do some estate planning, the website is up 24/7. New 401(k)? Need to start a college fund for your child? Not sure how to hire a financial advisor? It’s all there, along with a lot of stuff you didn’t even know you needed to know. It’s free to you and unlike most of the financial world, all of my conflicts of interest are fully disclosed.

Here is an example of the financial education available at the site. Two of the most common errors I see are an inadequate savings rate and an inadequate knowledge of available retirement accounts. Doctors don’t realize that if they ever want to be truly financially independent, they need to carve out a significant chunk of their income, such as 20%, to put toward retirement. Physicians are also failing to max out all their available retirement accounts, which may be an unrecoverable error for many. Sometimes that is simply due to not saving enough, but more commonly, they simply don’t know what retirement accounts they should be using. Employed physicians may not know about a personal and spousal backdoor Roth IRA. Self-employed physicians may be mistakenly using a SEP-IRA instead of an individual 401(k).

The second part of the mission of The White Coat Investor is to help doctors get in touch with the good guys in the financial industry. The vast majority of financial advisors are actually commissioned salesmen, but there are still some highly qualified individuals in the industry. Connecting doctors with competent, low-cost financial professionals is a valuable service. Even if they choose to hire somebody else, at least they know what competent advice at a fair price looks like. This list is not perfect, but a good place to start.

Finally, I help doctors to stay the course. The most important part of any financial plan is sticking with it for the long term- whether it’s a spending plan (AKA budget,) a well-thought out insurance plan, or an investing plan. Understanding what has happened in the past, and what could happen in the future allows physician investors to take a long term perspective and not only survive, but thrive in the half dozen bear markets they will face during their investing career.

Physicians have already won the income game, but if they don’t learn to manage that high income properly, they will never turn it into a high net worth or reach their financial goals such as purchasing and paying off their dream home, sending their children to school without debt, supporting worthwhile charities, or enjoying a comfortable retirement. By optimizing their personal finance and investing strategies, physicians can find the financial freedom that will allow them to quit worrying about money so they can concentrate on what matters to them the most-- their families and their patients.

James M. Dahle, MD, FACEP is the editor of The White Coat Investor website and the author of the best selling The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing

Book Review

Hi there.

From time to time I am asked to review books. I finally had a chance to read one that was sent to me, and I am happy to report it is a great book.

The title: "Weight Loss Surgery--The Real Skinny" by Nick Nicholson, MD and BA Blackwood.

The book is all about the various types of weight loss surgeries and their merits. It is an easy read, very understandable to medical and non-medical readers and well written. What I liked most about it was the focus on the psychology of weight loss. The author gives many example of treatment failures as well as the successes.

Oftentimes when you read books like this, it is simply an advertisement of their product. However, Dr. Nicholson is giving extremely good advice, going so far as to let prospective patients know that you need to be psychologically ready to have a successful outcome. That surgery is not a panacea, and you should not rush into it.

So if you are thinking about having or recommending weight loss surgery, you should read this book first.


PS here's the link for the kindle version which is on sale right now

Links and Contact info

Links to helpful websites
 (work in progress)
Whitecoat's Call Room - a blog from inside the emergency department

Quick Essentials of Emergency Medicine - A one minute consult for everything in EM 

Think Twice-More lessons from the ER

Contact Info for me:
IRBrennerMD at gmail
@irb123 on twitter

If you find me on Facebook, I will likely not respond, for my own security, unless I know you personally already. Please use the gmail or twitter addresses if you wish a response from me. Even better - twitter me that you are sending me an email!

Shooting from the HIPAA

I recently completed my required Compliance Education which discussed all types of ways doctors can go to jail.

One issue that stood out was HIPAA violations (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the modern digital era. Apparently, it wasn't just the doctor who treated Octomom that is in trouble-EIGHTEEN employees of the hospital where she delivered were fired as a result of improper access of her records. Even though, as it turned out, no information was fed to the media from these employees.

There was another case (I know, you can't believe that I actually read the pdf before answering the questions!) where a patient had a FB [foreign body] lodged up his rectum (you can imagine what the FB is) and multiple employees viewed the x-ray and some snapped cellphone pics of it and put it on their Facebook site. They too were fired.

There's two HIPAA issues here: Access and Distribution. Improper access of records is a violation. And in both situations this was violated by many employees. Distribution is not necessarily a HIPAA violation if no personal identifiers (see below) are used.

I just read this fascinating post, initiated by this question: "Are Doctors required to get patient permission to use unidentifiable x-rays, CTs, EKGs for medical education online?"

According to the article, the answer is...No.

This is based on the 18 indentifier criteria for Case Reports, to make them HIPAA compliant. They are listed in the above linked blog.

However, just because it isn't a HIPAA violation does not mean that it is not a fireable offense. I was discussing this issue with a Health Care Lawyer friend of mine who pointed out that the hospital owns all the records related to the patient. And even taking a cell phone picture is in violation of their intellectual property which can easily get you fired.

That may be your patient, but it is not your right to use that information, EVEN if you get permission from the patient to do so, or don't get permission but eliminate identifiers and have no HIPAA violation.

I would be very careful taking any images of anything related to any patient in a hospital or clinic that you personally do not own. And don't access a patient chart unless you have legitimate medical reasons to do so. If you want to use, academically, something of your patient's, don't assume you can do it because it is not a HIPAA violation. Ask your administration for permission.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

New Radio Show Today

My new radio show has another interview today, 5/12 at 9pm EST with Dr. Darren from "Married to Medicine" reality show on Bravo.

Dr. Darren is an Emergency Medicine Physician, and is married to entrepreneur (and fellow Emory grad) @LisaNicoleCloud

Hear all about what it is like to be a full time doctor on a reality TV show.

Listen here live or later at:

I'd love to hear from you and any comments about my shows. Contact me at IRBrennerMD at gmail

My Own Radio Show!

Apparently, the response to my radio interviews have been very positive, and I have been asked to do my own show. I call it "Healthy World with Dr. B"

I recorded my first episode last night, and you can hear the hour-long show by clicking here: Radio Show with Donna Pinter.  (

Donna Pinter is a visionary artist, world renown for her Neiman Marcus pottery line, ballerina and koi paintings, and now mosaic murals. She is also a Reiki Master and has an interesting perspective on this alternative form of healing that works with modern medicine, not in lieu of it.

Let me know what you think.

My new venture into radio

I was asked to do a segment on blogtalkradio and had a wonderful experience talking about a whole host of healthcare related issues. I've been asked to do my own show, and will keep everyone updated on when my first show will be on.

Here is a link to my recent radio segment on Alternative Public Radio:

If you are interested in having me interview you or someone you know in the future, please send me a message.


Dr. B