Canon Facts Backstage
The rapid rate of advance of medical technology today means that no static
reference work such as this can hope to catalogue every form of equipment
in use in a modern hospital. This section will therefore attempt to briefly
detail only those examples which are in the most widespread use in Starfleet
The Hypospray is a simple and effective method
of delivering substances intravenously to a patient. The device consists
of a spray head which can deliver drugs painlessly through the skin, and
even through clothing. Attached to this is a swappable vial which contains
the drugs to be delivered. The Hypospray has several major advantages over
the syringe; since the skin is not broken by the spray, there is no contamination
of the hyposprays tip during an injection. The device can therefore be
used repeatedly without any need for sterilization of the tip. The hypospray
is also completely painless, which has helped to make the widespread fear
of injections a thing of the past.
The hospital bed is, of course, one of the most
important items to be found in any medical facility, as it is here that
the patient will spend most of their time. Early beds were simply that
- a place where the patient could rest in comfort. As technology progressed
the hospital bed began to become more flexible and it was only a matter
of time before routine medical systems began to be incorporated as standard,
leading to the early versions of the device which has come to be known
as the Biobed.
Today, the Starfleet biobed is designed to provide
the medical staff with a wide range of basic information on the patient.
Inbuilt sensor systems allow the biobed to constantly monitor factors such
as heart rate, respiration, temperature, etc. These are displayed on a
permanent basis, usually on a panel located at the head of the biobed,
so as to present the information in the most clearly and easily accessible
manner possible. As a backup to the visual presentation, biobeds can be
set to give audio information, including normal functions such as heartbeat
or automatic alarms should any body function fall outside a pre-set range.
The use of biobeds essentially means that every
hospital bed today is equivalent to - or in fact, superior to - the "intensive
care" beds of centuries ago. However, it is simply not resource efficient
to include every type of medical device on every biobed. While the goal
posts have shifted, then, even the most modern medical facilities still
maintain a relatively few "high technology" beds supplemented by a much
larger number of standard biobeds.
The laser scalpel is one of the simplest instruments used in the modern
medical facility. This device uses a laser beam rather than a physical
knife in order to cut the patient; this allows a greater degree of control
over the incision, and by eliminating physical contact between instrument
and patient reduces the risk of transmitting infections.
The Cortical Stimulator is a small device which is used to elevate
the activity in the cortex of a patient. The stimulator is typically a
small device which is attached to the cranium; it is used on patients who
have reduced or damaged brain wave patterns.
The physiostimulator is a system designed to
elevate metabolic functions in an impaired individual. The unit is typically
a small handheld device. In 2267 Doctor mcCoy used a physiostimulator to
bring Captain Kirk out of a deep coma which had been used to fool the Romulans
into believing that he was dead.
Handheld unit used to heal reasonably mild wounds
to the skin. Autosutures can be used to close incisions, heal knife wounds,
etc. In 2369 an autosuture was used to heal a stab wound received by Captain
Jean Luc Picard.
A small device used to cause the patient to loose
consciousness. The Neural Caliper is often used as part of the preparation
An advanced medical system designed to scan damaged
organs on the quantum level and replicate living replacements which can
then be transplanted. The system was created by Doctor Toby Russell, an
expert in spinal injuries. The Federation refused Dr. Russell permission
to test the device on a patient on three separate occasions, on the grounds
that the risks were unacceptable. In 2368 she used the device on Lieutenant
Worf, who had been paralysed after an accident on board the Enterprise-D.
The Gentronic replicator succeeded in creating a new spine, but Worf died
on the operating table. Fortunately, his Klingon physiology allowed him
to be revived and make a full recovery.
The dermal regenerator is used to repair damage
to the skin of the patient, including bruising and lacerations. The device
is handheld; the doctor holds it over the damaged area and moves it slowly
back and forth. The treatment typically lasts only a matter of a few seconds.
The defibrillator is a device used to restore
sinus rhythm in a patients heart after it has gone into cardiac arrhythmia.
Modern defibrillators are portable handheld devices which are placed into
contact with the skin directly over the heart; when triggered a computer
controlled shock is delivered to the heart.
The subdermal scalpel is used for making incisions
beneath the skin without breaking the skin itself. It therefore allows
purely internal surgery to be performed, reducing the risk of infection
and the need for instruments such as dermal regenerators.
Last updated : 4th July 1999.
This page is Copyright Graham Kennedy 1998.
Star Trek et al is Copyright Paramount Pictures
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