Diagnosis From Dr. Badass

"I still intend to do 'Miller'-style first person narrative captions which give some insight into Batman's thought processes but it seems more 'realistic' to imagine Batman as a hardcore fightin' man who wouldn't even notice his injuries until long after the fight was over, so no more of that 'MY BACK SPLINTERS INTO A THOUSAND SHARDS OF AGONIZED BONE. HE'S GOOD. HE'S YOUNG. HE'S TOUGHER AND YOUNGER THAN ME. AND TOUGHER. DID I MENTION TOUGHER ? MUSN'T BLACK OUT...'"

Related to Informed Self Diagnosis, but occurs when a character diagnoses themselves or someone else, and does so with anatomical accuracy (enumerating the number of bones broken seems the most common route). In most cases, the diagnoser will not have formal medical training, but this is a moot point as characters like Batman probably have as much medical knowledge as any field medic and Superman can see through you. If Wolverine tells you his claw is in your spleen, then you have a claw in your spleen.

Usually said in a matter-of-fact/deadpan kind of way even if the damage is or will be catastrophic. When diagnosing themselves, this often results in an Only a Flesh Wound and Major Injury Underreaction moment. When diagnosing others, this almost always leads To the Pain or Gorn.

Compare Sequential Symptom Syndrome.


Anime & Manga
  • Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star is famous for this. Nearly every single one of his Finishing Moves has him describing in detail the smack down he laid on a poor Mook (describing which pressure point/s he hit) and what the results will be (exploding heads, uncontrollable body movements, High-Pressure Blood).
  • Spoofed in Slayers where Zelgadis tells the villain how he decided to spare him and used the blunt side of the sword, only to realize that his sword is double-edged.
  • Rikiya Gaou of Eyeshield21, after he breaks Hiruma's right arm was able to identify exactly what part of the arm he broke, the humerus.
  • In Bleach, Yumichika can immediately tell after a single punch that Cuulhorne has broken his arm in three different places. He continues fighting anyway and eventually defeats Cuulhorne one-handed.

Comic Books
  • Batman does this all the time, both to himself and others.
    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns while fighting the head mutant.
      Batman thinking: A quick one to the nerve cluster in his deltoid. It doesn't hurt him, but no force on Earth could help him move his left arm now.
    • In Superman & Batman after getting punched by Superman
      Batman thinking: Sternum's shattered. Bone's broken through skin. Lung punctured for sure.
    • In Hush, after getting his line cut, he grabs on to a gargoyle (breaking his shoulder), but it crumbles.
      Batman thinking: My shoulder breaks. First my body betrays me. Then, my city follows suit.
    • Also in Hush, he contemplates what he could do to the Joker.
      Batman thinking: I could crush his windpipe and sever all oxygen from his brain. I could push his ribs right through his lungs and rupture his heart. I could pound his skull into the pavement until it fractured into so many pieces his brain would spill out.
  • Superman, during his fight with Batman in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
    Superman thinking: Bruce — I just broke three of your ribs.
  • Dr. Octopus, when recalling his first fight with Spider-Man.
    Dr. Octopus: ...with a punch that, by my best estimate, was over twelve hundred foot-pounds. That, Dr. Louis, would be my first case of traumatic brain injury.
    • Depending on the interpretation of Ock's origin, his first case would have actually been the explosion that also fused his mechanical arms to his body.
  • Wolverine, during his fight with She-Hulk in Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk.
    Wolverine: The first claw just punctured your spleen. It'll bleed but you'll live. The third claw's sticking into your kidney. Good thing you got two. I pop the middle one it goes right through your liver.
    • Which, as pointed out on Polite Dissent, is anatomically impossible. Then again, he may have simply been bluffing.
  • Rorschach does this in Watchmen: "I have just broken this man's little finger. Who killed Edward Blake?"
  • In Nomad, Lycan says "Did you know that nearly every creature has a brachiocephalic artery carrying blood to the brain, or something similar? And if pressure is applied, causing it to burst, well... Death is instantaneous." Three guesses what he does.
  • The protagonists in Sin City often explain in gruesome detail how they've been injured or how they're torturing the bad guys. Marv's torture of Kevin is probably the prime example.
  • In The Punisher MAX, Frank Castle provides an internal narration example during a fight with Ax-Crazy Pittsy, who shoots him point-blank in the chest with a shotgun.
    Punisher: That's a rib gone. Not broken. Gone.
  • Doctor Mid-Nite occasionally gives very detailed threats of the anatomical damage he could inflict on his enemies. He rarely carries through with them, though.

Fan Work

  • Marv from Sin City, when he breaks the lawyer's arm in three places.
  • Sarah Connor from Terminator 2: Judgment Day when she breaks the doc's hand, even if she is wrong.
    Sarah: There are 215 bones in the human body. That's one.
  • In the 2009 film, Sherlock Holmes makes a habit of mentally running through the intended physical effects of a series of precise blows to an opponent, just before he actually makes his attack.
    Holmes: First, distract target. Then block his blind jab. Counter with cross to left cheek. Discombobulate. Dazed, he'll attempt wild haymaker. Employ elbow block and body shot. Block feral left. Weaken right jaw. Now fracture. Break cracked ribs. Traumatize solar plexus. Dislocate jaw entirely. Heel kick to diaphragm. In summary, ears ringing, jaw fractured, three ribs cracked, four broken. Diaphragm hemorrhaging. Physical recovery: six weeks. Full psychological recovery: six months. Capacity to spit at back of head: neutralized.
  • In the movie Cellular, a kidnapped high-school teacher stabs her kidnapper in the arm with a pair of scissors then tells him "Tenth grade biology. Brachial artery... pumps thirty liters of blood a minute. There's only five in the human body. I'm sorry."
  • In Punisher: War Zone, Loony Bin Jim, during his fight with Frank Castle in the toilet:
    Loony Bin Jim: Blood in the urine, an early indicator of kidney failure.
    Loony Bin Jim: You should be seeing double right about now.
    Loony Bin Jim: That would be a torn meniscus.
  • In The Punisher (2004), the eponymous character takes a blowtorch to a man's back and describes what he's doing in great detail, including telling him that it's not painful yet because the nerve endings are seared and when the flame's that hot, it actually feels cold. This turns out to be a subversion, as the Punisher is really just swiping a popsicle across the man's back to create the described symptoms, while simultaneously using the blowtorch on a steak to create the smell of charred flesh.
  • Done in Black Ninja as the eponymous character tells a villain how the hero has paralyzed him for life. The scene is especially odd because the villain is on the toilet, and the only sound aside from the hero talking is a bunch of farting noises.

  • It's after the fact, but in Iron Fist Doctor Ton Phanan explains that he cut the attacker's throat, severing the carotid artery, with his laser scalpel.
  • In Monster Hunter Vendetta the hero accidentally shoots Agent Frank. Agent promptly stick a finger in the wound for examination.
    "Bullet struck my pelvis below my vest. Glanced upward... Hmmm, hit a kidney. You owe me a new one. Let's go."
  • In The Dresden Files: Ghost Story, Just as Aristedes seems to have taken down Daniel, Butters appears out of nowhere with a lead pipe and promptly 1HKO's him.
    "That sound you just heard was your lateral collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament tearing free of the joint. It's also possible that your patella or tibia was just fractured. Get rid of the knife, or I start on your cranium."
  • In Sheeps Clothing, Doc Meadows's first hint of badassery comes in his narration just before he kicks a man in the knee, as he describes what tendons and ligaments will be damaged as the joint breaks.

Live-Action TV
  • Xena does this often with her death pinch.
    Xena: I just cut off the blood flow to your brain. You'll be dead in thirty seconds unless...
  • Neroon from Babylon 5 in episode "Grey 17 is Missing".
    Neroon: I've just broken two of your ribs. (whack!) Sorry, make that three.
  • Dexter has a moment like this when attacking the abusive father of Astor's friend. He describes how he is hitting internal organs in just the right way to unleash terror.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Dr. McCoy, with a newly-awakened Khan holding a scalpel to his throat, merely tells him that the recommended procedure for a quick kill would be to sever the carotid artery. After Khan praises McCoy for bravery, he simply states that it would be a quicker death than the jugular vein that was Khan's initial target.
  • A rather indirect example from Louie, where nuns at a Catholic school bring in a doctor (played by Tom Noonan) to graphically and viscerally explain to the young main character and his classmates the violence suffered by Christ during his crucifixion.
  • Dr. Ray Langston has a moment like this in CSI. He puts a choke hold on a suspect, and describes the effects it's having on the guy.

Video Games
  • Siegfried's win quotes in Soulcalibur III.
    Siegfried: I avoided your vitals. You'll live.
  • CROSS†CHANNEL: The protagonist Taichi Kurosu displays uncanny medical knowledge at certain points during the game by quickly and effectively diagnosing injuries his friends have received. The "Bad Ass" part of the trope derives from the fact that he also committed mass murder as a child and has a long-standing relationship with an expert kunoichi.

Web Comics
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja,
    • Dr. McNinja has to use this to explain to Death why he'll live after being shot multiple times. Subverted when Death doesn't care about his diagnosis, and Dr. McNinja has to beat the snot out of him to go free. Also, he's a real doctor.
    • In a later adventure, one page ends with him about to fight a large intelligent ape. The next page shows him being swung back and forth, his head hitting the ground each panel, for a couple of panels. Then the Dr, in a moment of lucidity, diagnosis that this has been happening for quite some time.

Western Animation