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67. Caring for the Unapologetically Unvaccinated
Episode 6729th November 2021 • Stimulus | Helping Doctors overcome burnout, excel in leadership, and unlock their most fulfilling careers • Rob Orman, MD
00:00:00 00:56:01

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We share two conversations about navigating the waters of interacting with unvaccinated COVID patients. Brit Long, MD and Jose Pacheco, RN are thoughtful healthcare providers with somewhat different approaches. The common thread is that both are intentional and compassionate.

Guest bios: 

Brit Long is an assistant professor of emergency medicine in San Antonio, Texas and Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Content at He is one of the most published authors in the field of emergency medicine. Brit is working in a unique environment where he's running what is in effect a COVID emergency department in an underserved area with an incredibly high unvaccinated rate. 

Jose Pacheco is an emergency department nurse who is a local legend for his kind personality and fully engaged approach to caring for patients. He is not just a legend among healthcare providers, but frankly, among the community.

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For full show notes of this episode and all sorts of other goodies, visit our podcast website

We discuss:

  • Brit’s mental processes when he enters the room of a patient with COVID pneumonia who is unapologetically unvaccinated [05:15];
  • How Brit discusses the importance of vaccination with unvaccinated patients [05:43]
  • The impact of one’s belief system on vaccine decision-making [07:15];
  • The fact that personal stories (and not scientific evidence) are what many who aren't able to critically appraise literature rely upon to make decisions [15:25];
  • Framing the COVID vaccine as an anti-death vaccine [16:45];
  • Handling post-shift frustration [19:30];
  • The importance of celebrating the success when a vaccine hesitant person agrees to vaccination after you discuss its merits [22:45];
  • Jose’s plea to fellow healthcare providers [25:00];
  • What makes the COVID situation more difficult than others we encounter in the ED [27:40];
  • Why Jose is referred to not only as the Drunk Whisperer (see Stimulus episode 1), but also the COVID whisperer [28:30];
  • Many unvaccinated patients think they’ve done their due diligence [40:20];
  • The root and seat of compassion -- wishing that all patients are well, vaccinated or not [46:15];
  • And more.