SF Debris: Star Trek (VOY) – Critical Care

Opinionated Voyager Episode Guide looks at Critical Care. A swindler swipes the Doctor and sells him to a hospital where patients are treated based upon personal value rather than need. And the opening shots of a war about universal health care is heard!

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42 Comments on "SF Debris: Star Trek (VOY) – Critical Care"

jsbwalker
Guest
Now it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this episode, but I seem to remember the Doctor’s main issue differently. It wasn’t that he had an issue with the idea of allocating medicine based on a meritocracy, it was that the system was corrupt. People were getting better treatment not based on skills, but on political power and money. Also treatments were being wasted on people on level blue. They were getting treatments that they didn’t require that could have been given to people on lower levels. From this perspective, the parallels with the healthcare system in America can be drawn… Read more »
Juxtavarious
Guest

As memory serves, the Level Blue patients were also receiving treatments for aesthetic purposes over medical needs which deprived resources from lower levels. All on the grounds that the computer said that this was okay. One of the sub issues was that the system wasn’t being questioned. It didn’t need to be scrapped in its entirety but it had some serious but manageable flaws if they were willing to reprogram it even just a little. Like medicinal purposes over aesthetic ones.

trlkly
Guest

What you described sounds just like him objecting to medicine being allocated via a meritocracy. A meritocracy is inevitably going to devolve to be about political power and money. That’s how they work, and why they are bad.

trlkly
Guest
Yeah, I completely disagree, and so does the episode. The Doctor did not go too far, at all. He did was Kirk would have done, as we saw in the war games episode. He forced the rich and powerful to have to deal with the system where it is. I seriously doubt he was going to let him die. He gave him a disease he knew he could treat, and then bluffed him into listening. He didn’t do any actual “harm.” Also, BJ is not very convincing in that MASH episode. “Some things are just wrong!” is not an argument.… Read more »
trlkly
Guest

Sorry, that was supposed to go to the bottom. My bad. Please read my addendum:

Of course, how poorly is debatable. You can debate that the Doctor was not causing the most good by his actions. But you cannot say “Some things are just wrong!” without qualifying the harm.

I mean, in our society, we just treat bigots like scum, not jumping to medical treatment. But we also aren’t as bad as the scenario painted in the episode.

Corey46
Guest

BJ is telling Hawkeye that he is crossing a line and his actions can justify other actions which the worst case is the Nazi doctors in the concentration camps.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest
All economic social systems are based on the distribution of limited resources to those that need them. The trouble with capitalistic systems is that, more often than not, those most important end up going to those who already have the most resources. But with a state-operated system, those choices usually end up in the hands of government bureaucrats instead; what’s more, state-operated systems also consume some of those resources in the distribution process. Both systems are deeply flaws, largely because, no matter how efficient the distribution system in place, the resources themselves are still limited. What we need is an… Read more »
trlkly
Guest

While I don’t disagree, state-run systems still tend to work better than the capitalistic systems. They may not be perfect, for the reasons you state, but they are better.

Ultimately, the real problem is the unelected bureaucrat, and the ability of the elected to position themselves where it is hard to get rid of them, no matter what their actions, making them quasi-bureaucrats themselves. If you can fix that, then you have a way to get rid of those who use the system for their own personal gain.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest
I disagree. I used to work for the government – in the military and in the Veterans Administration. The problem is that, with the government, there is little to no incentive to prevent waste except the threat of a cut budget. Unfortunately, the cut budget becomes pretty much how the doctor described it in the episode: just pad your budget with useless waste so that, when the threats of cuts come, you still have more than enough to work with. At least in a capitalist model, it is vital to cut waste in order to maximize profits. Capitalism used to… Read more »
mosehacklesfan
Guest

What do you despise? By this are you truly known. and i needs me some dune

TheSKARD1
Guest

Not only was the EMH program intended to run only in an emergency but even then it was a failure back at the Federation. The only reason it wasn’t a failure on Voyager was because they had no other doctor.

Corey46
Guest

That is because that the EMH at heart is a computer program without the humanity it takes to be a Doctor.

lobsterzoidberg
Guest

I’ve really got to give a go to this Star Trek series. I only ever watched the original series, and The Next Generation. After that, I guess I was all Star Trekked out.

…For a while, anyway.

APlotdevice
Guest

Watch DS9. It’s way better than Voyager or Enterprise.

jsbwalker
Guest

I actually really enjoyed Voyager. I don’t understand the hate.

graymorality
Guest

I actually really enjoyed Enterprise. I do understand the hate.

Salosandre
Guest

Watch pretty much any of SFDebris reviews of Enterprise, Chuck outlines the problems with the series fairly plainly.

graymorality
Guest

Salosandres, reread my comment again, “I DO understand the hate”

I’ve watched all of SFDebris’ episodes but I still love enterprise and I’m not really sure why

Salosandre
Guest
Enterprise and voyager both shared the same major sin, the writers refused to take any real risks the majority of the series. You have a ship stranded far from home in Voyager, in uncharted space with limited supplies and half the crew was comprised of ex-federation citizens turned terrorist outlaws. Yet these major setting elements were almost entirely ignored, the maquis crew effectively forgotten iin the majority of the series. As for being far from home with no support.. One episodes entire plot hinged around obtaining energy, showing the ship in dire straights with people rationing supplies, not only did… Read more »
KingofMadCows
Guest

Ron Moore wasn’t really a writer on Voyager. He wrote mostly for TNG and DS9. He was with Voyager for a few weeks (maybe months). He wanted there to be more continuity and ran into a lot of problems with the other writers. That’s why he left. Apparently, it also hurt his friendship with Brannon Braga.

There’s a really interesting old interview where he talked about the problems with Voyager and predicted a lot of the problems that happened with Enterprise.

trlkly
Guest

That’s part of why I watch Chuck. He helps me understand the hate. For example, I actually liked Neelix, but I now get why people didn’t. You see, I took him at face value.

Salosandre
Guest

I did too when I first watched the series growing up honestly. I think I was just to young to understand how much of a annoying prick he actually was (especially to Kes). I was happy to take him as the bumbling buffoon.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I really saw the blatant problems in the character (and the series).

Alaster Boneman
Guest

Janeway and Seven sigh 🙁

trlkly
Guest

I never quite got that ship. It’s like shipping a girl with her mother. That’s the role Janeway always played.

I always shipped Seven with the Doctor. Both outside of humanity in their own way. Though I understood people who shipped her with Harry Kim, as well.

Salosandre
Guest

That’s what I thought would happen. THe Doc and Seven seemed like they were setup as an obvious couple. The 7/Chakotay thing seemed so out of left field and random, even as a kid, I wondered if I had missed episodes.

kyuven
Guest

they did reference it in a single episode in a previous season. Once. in a holodeck.
But the only conclusion to draw from that is “Seven has a crush on Chocolateday”
The problem is the writers had perpetual ADD and actually seemed to remember doing things they never actually did.
For example, they were convinced until the very last season that they had killed of Lieutenant Kerry long ago, and thus only had him appear in flashbacks.
Then they remembered that, no, they didn’t kill him…and promptly killed him.

sophronia_chaos
Guest
Robert Beltran and Jeri Ryan had a HORRIBLE relationship in person/out of character and some (including Mr. Beltran) speculate that C7 was written in just to mess with him. Also I love Voyager, but its continuity sort of…isn’t. My favorite mistake of the writers’ is the fact that Naomi Wildman’s mom Samantha survived the events of the episode in which she went missing, and then Samantha never showed up again so Seven could be Naomi’s surrogate mom. (Which was, admittedly, adorable.) There was setup for EMH/7, I agree, but after the events of “Body and Soul” and “Tinker Tenor Doctor… Read more »
sophronia_chaos
Guest

I ship J7 so hard it hurts. I never really saw Janeway and Seven’s dynamic as mother/daughter, especially near the end of the series. Complicating matters is the fact that I’m an abuse victim who doesn’t know what a healthy mother/daughter relationship even looks like. And I see femmeslash everywhere, as long as the characters aren’t blood related and are both of age.

trlkly
Guest

Of course, how poorly is debatable. You can debate that the Doctor was not causing the most good by his actions. But you cannot say “Some things are just wrong!” without qualifying the harm.

MightyDavidson
Guest

If you have to have somebody explain to you why injecting somebody with a fatal disease, as the Doctor did in this episode, is wrong then there is something wrong with you sir.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest

Primum non nocere. “First, do no harm.” The problem is that Hawkeye’s approach is to cause harm in order to prevent further harm, but in the process, he actually breaks the first rule of medicine.

KingofMadCows
Guest

But technically, a lot of medicine requires the doctor to cause harm in order to prevent a greater harm. For example, amputation and chemotherapy cause a ton of harm but you have to take that risk or something worse would happen. Similarly, a lot of drugs have bad side effects.

thespecialneedsgroup
Guest
That sort of medicine, however, is harm caused under controlled conditions with the understanding that failing to act will result in severe bodily harm or death. When amputations are preformed in the field, it’s usually done because the patient’s life is in immediate danger if the limb isn’t quickly removed. When they’re done in the hospital, it’s usually either done to prevent a localized infection from spreading to the rest of the body, or removing a damaged limb to improve a patient’s quality of life. The doctor and the patient understand and have accepted the risks; unless it’s an emergency… Read more »
ManWithGoodTaste
Guest

I am pro donkey magic.

Endocrom
Guest

That bit about the resources allocated to those that use them more reminds me of MULTIPLE stories I’ve heard from people in the military. Who’ve had to scramble to use up ammunition issued for training purposes, so that they keep getting the same amount the following term.

JPT
Guest

I think donkeys shouldn’t be allowed to perform magic shows. They don’t have sleeves!

Corey46
Guest

The MASH refernce is right. The Doctor like Hawkeye is confronted on what steps he should take to save more lives.BJ was the voice of reason that you don’t correct a wrong with another wrong when the end result did not change anything. This episode is like the TNG episode I, Borg on how far do you want to go.

Akai
Guest

Of course this will never be brought up again since Voyager has the same continuuity as an 80s cartoon series. As usual, it’s all Neelix’s fault!

angel85
Guest
you know what’s hilarious about Voyager? They set up a system so absurd that there is no way it can be seen as an allegory for anything real. I mean, look at how hilariously BROKEN the Allocater’s system is: A patient comes in with a condition, he is entitled to a certain amount of medicine/treatment by his life station, it won’t cure him or even improve his condition significantly but it’s all he gets. When he dies a few days later what medicine you DID give him is totally wasted! It would have been better to NOT treat him at… Read more »
Majkinja
Guest

Since it has not been mentioned on one of the most nerdy sites on the internet, and since Chuck reviews Star Trek I’ll will just say this: Rest in peace Leonard Nimoy. He died friday February 27th. He lived long and prospered, but I wish he could have stayed with us longer.

Resources were already wasted on blue deck, many of the patients there didn’t need the treatment they got. The EMH is my favourite Voyager character, so I’m always happy watching a EMH-sentric episode.

munkydelarocha
Guest
I would be interested to hear what SF Debris has to say about STVOY: Sacred Ground. I found that ep to be an obvious attempt at new-age moralizing. I also notice that many people who like the episode look well-past the storyline flaws and see beauty in the premise of faith serving as answer to a challenge. Moreover, most of these people I know are predisposed to modern religious traditions. It’s almost as if the ep invokes a knee-jerk bias in certain individual minds. The story itself seems like a large waste of time, as Janeway later doesn’t seem to… Read more »
munkydelarocha
Guest

I just found the SF Debris homepage and the Sacred Ground review. 🙂

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