So, if, in an interview, I end up talking about some specific patient I've seen, and I use their first name (because it feels super awkward and childish to say "I'll call him Bob"), would that be a privacy violation?
HIPAA basically prohibits giving out identifying information about the patient. A first name is fine unless somebody could, based on that first name and the story you tell, figure out exactly who you're talking about.
1. It's HIPAA.
2. As said above, a first name is not a HIPAA violation.
3. It's not childish to use a pseudonym. Happens all the time in personal statements.
4. It's not necessary to even name the patient.