Doctor Who vs Real Life Emergencies – Grand Speeches of Logic

11014092293_9b3d50d3a6_zThis is something that’s bothered me well before Moffat’s run – it showed up again tonight. I won’t go into specifics, because I’d hate to spoil it for anyone, but life gets very complicated for both the Doctor and the companion, and they both have their moments of “here’s a brilliantly logical way of getting out of this bind.” And they stop and explain the logic behind their current decisions.

That’s fine. Except people don’t do that in real life. No-one stops to explain what they-think-might-possibly-work-in-a-emergency-situation. They make a decision, tell those involved that decision, and then proceed to either have an ongoing conversation with a partner about what’s going on, as they do it, or they tell those trained to assist them what they need them to do. No-one stops to go on for paragraphs about the logic behind their decision, not in full detail. They say enough that everyone’s on the same page, everyone understands enough about what they’re doing, and they move on.

There’s a certain amount of trust involved in this. Trust in that person’s education, trust in their ability to recognise a mistake and turn back, trust in their ability to follow guidelines and evidence based practise, trust in their experience and judgement. There should be no need for a massively long explanation, for a revelation of logic. Because at the end of the day, once someone makes a decision and acts on it, everyone else has another decision to make: they either follow and support, or they act to make their own decision. Making their own decision results in either being able to, within a short space of time, convince the original decision maker to change their mind, or it results in taking away the power to make decisions from the original decision maker.

The long, “look at my logic” speeches are pretty. They give a grand sense of grandiose. But like villain “here, look at my plan” speeches, I highly doubt there’s many real life situations where people actually proceed to act like that.

Image attributed to Allison Stein, taken from Flick, under creative commons


2 thoughts on “Doctor Who vs Real Life Emergencies – Grand Speeches of Logic

  1. Fitch Williams says:

    Right on. Logic is for after the fact explanations, or justification. In a self defense scenario, one doesn’t explicitly think, “I’m going to be grievously injured or killed,” one sees the threat and reacts.

    The other thing that doesn’t happen is people standing around pointing guns at each other waiting to see if the other person kills them first.

    Adrenaline cycles, usually involved in emergencies, are very interesting and different for men and women. The effect of training is to replace the instinctive response with trained responses.

    • sejoness says:

      See, I thought about this in terms of medical emergencies – No surgeon is going to stop in the middle of a difficult procedure and spend 10 minutes talking about the logic behind their decisions. They might have a quick conversation with another doctor, or the nurses “hey, I’m going to do this, what do you think?” “Well there are these other options/That’s good/That’s a terrible idea” “Okay we’ll do this.”

      After that, everyone is either going to follow along or call in someone more senior to override the person making that decision. There’s not going to be time for much else.

      As for it being different for men and women – I think it depends much more on your training than your gender. I’ve seen many a student paramedic either freak out or make something work, and it tends to depend much more on whether they’re on the 10th shift or their 100th than biology, imho 🙂

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