Space Medicine: Paging Dr. McCoy
Practicing space medicine can be easy in science fiction. As illustrated early in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), injuries inflicted by hungry wampas respond well to merely immersing the victim in a bacta tank. As noted in Chap. 2, the coffin-like autodoc machines depicted in Ringworld (1970) and other works by Larry Niven provide the most complex medical care with little aid from flesh-and-blood medical personnel. The glossy high-tech equipment and spacious facilities located on large Federation starships such as the Enterprise in its various incarnations put to shame modern-day emergency rooms and surgical suites. Future humans might be genetically engineered to be more resilient to damage and heal more rapidly, or treated by injecting molecular-sized nanobots (See Chap. 11) that immediately go to work detecting and repairing body cells and organs. Physicians and nurses could routinely meet the challenges of managing the medical needs of exotic aliens such as those depicted in James White’s “Sector General” stories and novels.
KeywordsMedical Personnel International Space Station Chest Compression Science Fiction Parabolic Flight
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