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Ruth in sickbay

Ruth sets off the scanner.

The medical scanner was a medical device utilized by Starfleet medical personnel during the 2260s. Similar in size and function to the hand scanner of the medical tricorder, the medical scanner was a small, portable unit designed to function separately from the tricorder and diagnose by means of auditory emissions.

With this device, a trained physician could diagnose an illness by scanning the patient and interpreting the sounds it produced to diagnose, for example, arthritis. (TOS: "The Deadly Years"). One hand-scanner of this type was used by Spock when he read an energy source on the bridge, ascertaining that Elaan's necklace of "common stones" was actually dilithium. (TOS: "Elaan of Troyius") It was phased out as integration between the scanner and the medical tricorder became more advanced and commonplace.

Radioactive elements or other chemicals could set off the scanners. In 2266, Ruth Bonaventure set off Leonard McCoy's medical scanner just by walking past it, prompting him to ask whether she was wearing an unusual perfume or something radioactive. Later, he doubted that the unusually beautiful women were alien illusions, saying that any alien smart enough to do so would also be able to prevent his scanner from "going beep." (TOS: "Mudd's Women")

To accurately take readings of non-Human individuals, the scanner would have to be recalibrated. McCoy mentioned this to Spock in 2269 when the Vulcan returned from a trip to his past. Spock informed him that he was lucky, because if times were different, he'd have to recalibrate for an Andorian (first officer Thelin in an alternate timeline). McCoy didn't understand what he meant by that, having lost all memory of what had occurred. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

Another medical scanner in use was the alien scanner used by Dr. Joseph M'Benga, a cylindrical device to diagnose a gravely wounded Spock, after the latter had been shot in the back by the Hill People, who had been given flintlock-style rifles by the Klingons. (TOS: "A Private Little War")

This scanner consists of two parts; a grooved metal cylindrical scanner head with a small off-center light at the top of the unit that changed colors every rotation, indicating what type of scanning signal it was using, two switches on its side, and the main body / computer, encased in a pebbled rubberized grip.

It was not only a medical scanner, set to diagnose humanoid or otherwise life forms, but may also be utilized as a companion / probe to the science tricorder.

Like the smaller hand-held medical scanner utilized by Dr. McCoy, this scanner lacks a visual display on the endcap, and was interpreted according to the sound emitted from the device.

A scanner of this type was seen in Sickbay, used by Dr. Janet Wallace, when Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott were exposed to a foreign element on the planet they had visited, which caused them to age rapidly. (TOS: "The Deadly Years")

In 2371, B'Elanna Torres described the Vidiian bio-probe as a very sophisticated medical scanner and surgical instrument. (VOY: "Phage")