[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Medicine In Traveller - Introduction

From their very beginnings, intelligent beings have attempted to limit or even cure the various afflictions that fall upon them during their lifetimes.

The ability to recognise injurious agents and prevent or treat their ill-effects improves with increased technological capability.


The art or science of determining which disease processes are taking place in a patient.
Laboratory, imaging or surgical tests used to confirm or challenge the provisional diagnosis.
The art or science of treating disease. This is arbitrarily divided into 'medical' (use of pharmaceuticals) and 'surgical' (use of instruments).

Developments by Tech Level

TL 0. Knowledge is accumulated by trial and error and transmitted from family member to family member. Mysticism is inevitable. Apart from a few plant and animal-based remedies, there are no effective medical treatments. Surgery is restricted to splinting and bandaging.

TL 1. The development of agriculture permits towns and cities to arise, and further division of labour.

TL 2. Key physiological concepts, such as the circulation of blood, are discovered.

TL 3. The discovery of the microscope reveals ubiquitous bacteria. Microscopic anatomy - histology and embryology - begin as sciences.

TL 4. Industrialisation accelerates rapidly, as does the development of chemistry and physics.

TL 5. Attempts are made to treat the more disabling psychiatric disorders (e.g., insulin coma, electroshock therapy, psychoanalysis).

TL 6. Ultrasonography is developed and used clinically.

TL 7. Transplant surgery (heart, kidney, skin, cornea), cardio-pulmonary bypass (heart-lung machines) and renal dialysis are developed.

TL 8. The scope of transplantation expands to include lung, liver, pancreas, bone marrow and segments of intestine.

TL 9. Portable bacterial and viral analysers developed.

TL 10. Growth quickening of tissue becomes possible. Malignant cells are destroyed by surveillance protein machines. These are also used in medical oncology.

TL 11. The pocket medical scanner is developed. Utilising advanced ultrasound and superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) technology, it can determine heart rate from ECG ; measure cardiac output (volume of blood pumped per unit time) via Doppler ultrasound of the aortic root (probe must be placed on chest) ; and monitor other vital signs (blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation) and measure appropriate biochemical and haematological parameters with a multichannel arterial cannula (an IV line inserted into an artery).

TL 12. Synthetic vision, and advances in robotics lead to the development of modern automeds. Depending on legislation, automeds can perform functions from bandaging to resuscitation. Regardless, they are an invaluable tool for medical personnel.

TL 13. Growth quickening technology peaks at a 100:1 quickening rate.

TL 14. Computer-brain interfaces are possible. At lower TLs, switches and other electrical devices are implantable, but nothing as complex as a computer. Implantable computers to exploit this breakthrough become available. It becomes possible to read memories and alter them as a result. However at this TL reading is non-selective and destructive, writing proves near-impossible.

TL 15. Brain transplants become possible, as does treatment of radiation-induced acute brain syndrome.

Beyond the common TLs....

TL 16. Crude memory transfer (non-destructive read)

TL 17. Immune system augmentation with 'active screen' nanomachines. Stability problem solved. Infection, poisoning, aging and malignancy are not possible.

TL 18. Partial memory transfer (non-destructive)

TL 19. Biostasis :- no freezing or drugs : nanomachine induced metabolic arrest. Preservation time is a function of nanomachine failure or mutation rate.

TL 20. Minds can be transferred to computers or other sentients....

[ Next ]