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