One Trek Mind #14: What's Up, Doc(s)?
In space, everyone can hear you sneeze.
Despite the ability to travel at faster-than-light speed, translate new languages with tiny mechanical devices and replicate raw matter particles into cups and saucers of Earl Grey tea, you still don't want to go out in the cold without a jacket.
The medical advancements in Star Trek fill us with incredible optimism, but we'll always need medical practitioners to make diagnoses, oversee treatment and hold our hands. With a galaxy of options out there, it's important you be well informed when making a decision about your health. Luckily, we've created this tip sheet concerning the doctors of the Federation.
If you happen to be traveling to the future, I would make sure that a) your coverage extends into the fourth dimension and b) you bookmark this page if you find yourself in need of a physician.
Name: Leonard H. McCoy
Has fun nickname? Yes.
Has slightly affected speech pattern? Yes, mildly Southern.
Best quality: Tirelessly dedicated to the sanctity of all life. If he can aid you, he'll put himself at personal risk to help – even if he doesn't like you.
Worst quality: Has distrust of advanced technology. Also will have no compunction about telling you if your previous physicians' tactics are “medievalism.”
Bedside manner: All Southern gentleman charm. Look out ladies. Quick to tell you to shut up and lie down, however, if it is for your own good.
Outside of Sick Bay: Dammit, Jim, he's a doctor. . .
Name: Beverly Cheryl Crusher
Has fun nickname? No.
Has slightly affected speech pattern? No.
Best quality: Tremendous focus. Also, turquoise tunic that quite complements her red hair.
Worst quality: May disappear for an entire year and let a grouch take her place, then come back as if nothing happened.
Bedside manner: Nurturing, and able to keep her own emotions in check – like being secretly in love with her captain for seven years.
Outside of Sick Bay: Can hold her own with a phaser, and able to direct a non-surgeon should she ever fall into a giant pit and need emergency care.
Name: Julian Subatoi Bashir
Has fun nickname? No.
Has slightly affected speech pattern? Yes, mildly British.
Best quality: Research- and detail-oriented. Takes difficult cases as a personal challenge. Despite it being illegal (and perhaps immoral) he is genetically advanced, which can only go in the win category if he's the one performing surgery on you.
Worst quality: May see your case as yet another “adventure” in his private little saga, at least in his younger years. Really likes taking a long lunch, so you may be kept in the waiting room. Also: May keep key facts hidden (see above re: genetic enhancement.)
Bedside manner: Handsome.
Outside of Sick Bay: This is one dashing doctor.
Has fun nickname? Well, has a nickname. But I don't know if “The Doctor” counts as fun.
Has slightly affected speech pattern? Yes, mildly flamboyant.
Best quality: Has the mind and memory of a cutting-edge computer.
Worst quality: Hard to feel all that confident under the knife of a guy who'll, you know, disappear if there's a major power outage.
Bedside manner: Chatty and charming. Don't mention opera, though, if you aren't a fan.
Outside of Sick Bay: Able and willing to step outside of his comfort zone if it means he can save the day. Being made of projected photons means he's tasked to do this more often than you might think. But if he does, man, you'll never hear the end of it.
Has fun nickname? Yes.
Has slightly affected speech pattern? Yeah, I suppose, but that's the least strange thing about him.
Best quality: Open-minded and insatiable in his quest for knowledge. This attitude of mind comes in incredibly handy if you're aboard a ship leaving your star system for the first time.
Worst quality: Keeps a menagerie of gross things for, ostensibly, curative reasons. It may just be, though, that Phlox is weird.
Bedside manner: Phlox exudes comfort and joy. His medical arsenal may be the least advanced of these doctors, but he's the one you'll most want holding your hand.
Outside of Sick Bay: His outsider's thinking and empathy with alien cultures can come quite in handy during an away mission.
If these five fine doctors are all tied up with other patients, there are other clinics you can call. While we aren't as familiar with these folks, we certainly vouch for them in a pinch.
Name: Philip Boyce
We don't have that much firsthand knowledge about his medical know-how, but we have it on good authority he can pour a stiff drink.
Name: Katherine Pulaski
On late 20th Century and early 21st Century Earth there was an affection term used to describe certain people as “an old battle-axe.” Seems appropriate here. Also: keep androids away from her.
Name: Leonard McCoy (new version)
So far, he seems like a solid replication of the first one. Maybe a bit too quick to inject his friends with odd serums or trash-talk his ex-wife, but, good God, man, he seems like the real McCoy from where I'm sitting.
Jordan Hoffman was the movies editor at UGO.com for more than four years. He has produced two independent films (look 'em up!) and is a member of the New York Film Critics Online. In 2005, he was named the Ultimate Film Fanatic of the NorthEast by IFC. Jordan fell in love with Star Trek through TOS reruns just as TNG was getting ready to launch. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. He has a funny story about the one time he met Leonard Nimoy.