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October 10, 2010 » 8:14 am

Doctors on Planes

On the plane ride home from Miami last night, the flight attendant got on the PA and asked if any of the passengers were medical professionals. Someone had fallen ill and needed help.

Two people rang their bells immediately, and they went to assist the passenger.

This is a wonderful, real-life example of leveraging the collective intelligence of the group. If you take a large, random group of people, you are likely to have an incredible diversity of skills and knowledge in that group. You don’t have to worry about seeding the group with “experts.” They’re already there; you just have to have a space and a process that allows the expertise to emerge.

I wonder how often this happens on planes? I fly 4-8 times a year, and I remember this happening only twice on previous flights, including this time. Both times, there were several doctors on board.

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3 Responses to “Doctors on Planes”

  1. Had a similar experience recently. There were one or two doctors on the flight I was on as well. I think everything ended well.

  2. You probably don't want them asking for a "piloting professional" though. Just saying.

  3. True dat.

    That said, I'll bet that the odds are good that you'll have a passenger who is a skilled pilot on every flight. Wasn't this the premise of about six different A-Team episodes?

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