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Sickbay, also known as the dispensary or the medbay, was the main medical center aboard Federation starships. The section was presided over by the chief medical officer (CMO), a senior staff member. The CMO was supported by various medical practitioners. The area was also used for certain analyses of new lifeforms a starship might encounter, and for developing treatments for unknown diseases or illnesses. When rendering aid to a stricken planet or spacecraft, the sickbay staff treated and cared for the wounded. On starbases, sickbay was typically called the infirmary.


Intensive care unit[]

Galaxy class icu

Galaxy-class intensive care unit

Three or four biobeds generally lined the walls of sickbay's intensive care unit, or ICU; these were for patients receiving medical care and were equipped with biofunction monitors. On Galaxy-class starships, private rooms were available for long-term patients. (TNG: "Ethics")

Surgical facilities[]

Galaxy class biobed

Main surgical bed in the Galaxy-class sickbay

David Gentry dead

David Gentry at the surgical bay

Sickbays also had surgical beds, where major surgeries were performed, and critical patients were treated. A large, sophisticated sensor cluster was usually installed directly above this bed. Working in conjunction with a medical tricorder, the sensor suite could give detailed information about a patient's condition. The bed was also designed to use a surgical support frame. This bed was often located in the center of the main sickbay room, although Constitution II-class and Intrepid-class starships had separate spaces for their surgical beds, the former in a separate room, the latter in a small area that could be isolated by a force field. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; VOY: "Caretaker", "Phage") Aboard Intrepid-class starship this surgical facility was named surgical bay. (VOY: "In the Flesh") If necessary, surgery could be conducted in the intensive care ward if there was an overflow of patients or if another patient was present to donate blood. (TOS: "Journey to Babel"; VOY: "Latent Image") Galaxy-class starships also had separate surgical rooms. (TNG: "Ethics")


Sickbay laboratory

The sickbay laboratory

Sickbays typically had small laboratory facilities attached to the ICU. The chief medical officer or other associated personnel could monitor experiments or run tests here during their duty shift. (TNG: "Evolution", "Clues", "The Game"; VOY: "Macrocosm") The laboratory was equipped with a full bioisolation field. (TNG: "Home Soil") Many starships also have separate, larger medlabs. Galaxy-class ships had at least four. (TNG: "Ethics"; Star Trek Nemesis)

The sickbay laboratory set as seen in "Evolution" was directly connected to the sickbay set by a glass door in the waiting area of Dr. Crusher's office. It was redressed several times, and also served as the tactical laboratory.

CMO's office[]

Galaxy class CMO office

Chief medical officer's office in the Galaxy-class sickbay

The chief medical officer's office was also located in or near sickbay. As with the captain's ready room, it was an area for the CMO to work in privacy or conduct meetings with patients, staff, and others. Its close location allowed the CMO to be present in sickbay almost immediately. The space could be personalized, and the chief medical officer could use plants or paintings for decoration. Dr. Beverly Crusher had a large painting outside her office; it was an abstract representation of humanoid organs against the backdrop of space and several of the USS Enterprise starships. She also had a small potted palm tree on the floor beside her desk.

Other features[]

Sickbay master monitor

The large master monitor of a Galaxy-class sickbay

Other treatment facilities available in a Galaxy-class sickbay included physical therapy rooms, (TNG: "Ethics") OB/GYN and nursery areas, (TNG: "The Child", "Data's Day") and an emergency bio support unit. (TNG: "Transfigurations") A stasis unit was also available, used to temporarily place patients in suspended animation for later treatment. (TNG: "Genesis") Constitution-class starships had a decompression chamber, and may have had other features as well. (TOS: "Space Seed", "The Empath", "The Lights of Zetar")

A morgue facility was also part of sickbay. On Galaxy-class starships, there was a large separate morgue, (TNG: "Man Of The People", "Suspicions") although autopsies were performed in the main sickbay. (TNG: "Realm Of Fear", "Suspicions") The Intrepid-class had a tiny area for storage of the deceased just off the medical lab as well as a separate morgue area. (VOY: "Basics, Part II", "Emanations", "Renaissance Man")


Galaxy class sickbay supply

Technical supply area in the Galaxy-class sickbay

Sickbays were well stocked with a variety of medical equipment and supplies. Much of it was left out on tables or benches for use by the medical crew, but some items were stored in cargo crates. (TNG: "Haven", "Starship Mine"; VOY: "Message in a Bottle") On 24th century starships, if a piece of equipment was needed but not available it could be replicated. A standard food replicator was also found in sickbay, (TNG: "Evolution", "Future Imperfect") although the quality of the food did not appear to have improved much since the twentieth century. (TNG: "Ethics")


Due to its critical importance, the primary sickbay was usually located deep within the saucer section of most Federation starships. Sickbays were well-protected, and generally had a phaser locker for defense of the facility in the event the ship was boarded. (TNG: "Starship Mine", "Timescape") However, on Constitution-class vessels, at least one sickbay was located near the exterior of the saucer section, and had a window. (ST: "Ephraim and Dot")


Sickbays could provide limited psychological services to a starship's crew. In the 23rd century, the ship's doctor often doubled as an informal counselor. (TOS: "The Cage") By the 24th century, counselors became a normal part of starship crews. Although not formally part of the medical staff, the counselor played an important role in the well-being of the crew. (TNG: "Relics") Counselors were not always assigned to starships, especially smaller vessels with limited missions. While the USS Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant, the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram and morale officer Neelix informally filled the counselor roles. (Star Trek: Voyager)

Emergency situations[]


In the event of a large-scale disaster or humanitarian crisis that was encountered by a starship, cargo bays and shuttlebays could be used as triage centers and even morgues if necessary. Generally, this was only feasible on larger ships with a sizable medical staff. On Galaxy-class ships, a chief medical officer could order all Starfleet crewmembers and civilians with medical training to assist during a major crisis. (TNG: "Night Terrors", "Ethics") Galaxy-class starships also carried large quantities of backup medical supplies in the event of disaster. (TNG: "Preemptive Strike")

Designated environmental shelters could also be converted for medical use, such as Ten Forward on the Galaxy-class. (TNG: "Night Terrors", "Disaster") On the Intrepid-class USS Voyager, the mess hall often served as a backup to sickbay. (VOY: "Macrocosm", "Before and After", "Year of Hell", "Memorial")

The Emergency Medical Hologram[]

The Emergency Medical Holographic program was an asset to medical personnel introduced in 2370. It could be activated in the event of a major emergency or loss of the medical staff. Although its value was indisputable, many Starfleet doctors, including Beverly Crusher, were not fond of the program, and it was rewritten several times. (Star Trek: First Contact; DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"; VOY: "Life Line") One noteworthy EMH was The Doctor of the USS Voyager. He was activated shortly after the ship's disappearance in 2371, and served as their chief medical officer for nearly seven years, growing into a sentient being in the process. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Endgame")

Differences among starship classes[]


NX class sickbay

Sickbay aboard an NX-class starship

Enterprise sickbay, Shuttlepod One

Several side beds in an NX-class sickbay

The NX-class had a single sickbay ward on E Deck. The facility was open-plan, with laboratory equipment in the main sickbay area. The room also contained a main operating table, as well as several side beds for recovery of patients and an imaging chamber. To either side of the imaging chamber were autoclaves. The room was easily capable of caring for non-humanoid patients. Aboard Enterprise NX-01, Dr. Phlox often kept various different species of animals in sickbay, which he sometimes used in the treatment of injuries in lieu of more traditional treatments. One such animal was an osmotic eel. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...", "Fight or Flight", "A Night in Sickbay", "Broken Bow")

One early concept sketch of the NX-class sickbay was illustrated by John Eaves. His boss, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman, initially reckoned that – because the final design of the room made it look quite similar to a contemporary hospital ward – viewers might at first think it seemed like it was an area from the TV series ER. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 135, p. 65) While Eaves was busy conceiving the look of the NX-class bridge stations, the sickbay was one of several areas that Art Director Louise Dorton adopted the task of designing, still under Zimmerman's supervision. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 7, p. 51) The sickbay turned out to be Executive Producer Brannon Braga's favorite NX-class set. "Sickbay, to me, really captures a nice flavor of Enterprise because it's so different," he remarked. "It looks so believable [....] It kind of looks like a real hospital, a real futuristic hospital." Despite believing the NX-class sickbay was a significant design departure from other sickbays, Braga concluded, "It's well worth it." (Broken Bow, paperback ed., p. 269 & 270) The set was built on Paramount Stage 8.

The sickbay aboard Enterprise also featured two sinks in two alcoves next to the door. By using a ladder, a maintenance shaft could be reached. (ENT: "Regeneration")


USS Kelvin sickbay

Door to a sickbay aboard a Kelvin-type ship

The Kelvin-type sickbay was a brightly white-lit room, furnished with at least one biobed. Next to the bed were a couple of free-standing consoles and two overhead monitors.

In the novelization of Star Trek, the USS Kelvin's medical bay is described as being on deck nine of the ship.


USS Discovery Sickbay

Sickbay aboard a Crossfield-class starship

The Crossfield-class sickbay featured two biobeds on each side of the room, with a third in the center. Above each biobed was an imaging chamber. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

The Crossfield-class sickbay was designed by set designer Matt Morgan, with the credo "everything should be there for a reason". Inspiration came from Star Trek: The Original Series, especially for the biobeds and monitor shapes. (AT: "Lethe") Under the aegis of DIS Season 1 Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky, a concept illustration of the Crossfield-class sickbay was created for the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. ("Designing Discovery", DIS Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special features)


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Constitution class sickbay, 2259

Sickbay, 2259

Patient wear

Sickbay, 2268

Constitution II class sickbay, 2270s

Sickbay aboard a Constitution II-class starship, 2270s

In the 2250s, Constitution-class starships had a contained a sickbay that took up two decks. They even contained an emergency medical transporter to allow for more efficient beaming of patients directly to sickbay. (SNW: "Ghosts of Illyria")

By the 2260s, sickbay was located on Deck 5, and was considered the best protected part of the ship. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror", "Amok Time", "Elaan of Troyius") It was maintained and operated by the astro-medicine department. There were at least four wards. (TOS: "The Naked Time") They featured multiple body function panels. (Star Trek: The Original Series) One of the wards was an isolation ward. (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder") It was completely redesigned during the refit of the USS Enterprise, much to the chagrin of Dr. McCoy. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Constitution II class sickbay, 2293

Sickbay aboard a Constitution-class starship (post-2290s refit)

By 2293, the sickbay on Constitution II-class starships was redesigned yet again. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

While "Mirror, Mirror" put sickbay on Deck 5, which "Amok Time" and "Elaan of Troyius" also did, most Constitution-class blueprints instead put it on Deck 7. In TOS: "The Man Trap", the sickbay is referred to as a "dispensary" twice, in quick succession. Additionally, wards were redesignated following the refit. Before the refit, they were identified by number; after, by letter. (TOS: "The Man Trap", "The Naked Time"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture text commentary by Michael Okuda, who names two of the wards as Ward A and Ward B)

For "The Man Trap", a redress of the sickbay set was used to represent the botany section of the Enterprise's life sciences department. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 36)

The Short Treks episode "Ephraim and Dot" places the Enterprise's sickbay at the surface of the saucer section, and gives it a previously unseen window (through which the Tardigrade Ephraim witnesses a moment from TOS: "Space Seed").

Alternate reality[]

Constitution class (alternate reality), sickbay

Med bay aboard a Constitution-class starship

In the alternate reality USS Enterprise, the facility was known as "med bay" and was located within the saucer section of the ship. (Star Trek)

For Star Trek Into Darkness, the set for the Enterprise's "medical bay" was built on Sony Stage 15. [1]


Excelsior class refit sickbay

Sickbay aboard a refit Excelsior-class starship

The sickbay on a refit Excelsior-class starship can handle up to forty-seven patients at one time, though it would be crowded.

The USS Enterprise-B rescued and treated forty-seven El-Aurian survivors in 2293, albeit without the CMO or their staff. (Star Trek Generations)

The Enterprise-B sickbay was actually a redress of the foyer from the spacedock NAR-30974. Although that configuration of the set included windows and a Federation wall logo, the windows were filled in and the logo was removed for the set's reuse as sickbay. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 312) The windows were actually filled in by a wall. The room was designed by John Eaves. He dedicated one corner to a surgical center that he also designed, planning for it be an area where major operations would take place. Eaves later noted, "We also came up with a unique framework, separating each medical bed by using wall beams. As it happened, though, sickbay was so crowded in that scene that the audience really couldn't see it." Despite being hard to distinguish in the film, the surgical area additionally doubled as an ops console aboard the Amargosa observatory, dressed in different colors from how it appeared in sickbay. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 62) The Excelsior-class sickbay also featured entirely new biobed designs and futuristic thermal materials for linens. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 312)


Galaxy-class ships had at least three sickbay wards. (TNG: "Tapestry") Two sickbay wards were located on Deck 12 of the saucer module, with the primary facility on the starboard side of the ship and a backup on the port. (TNG: "A Matter of Perspective") Another sickbay was in the stardrive section in case the vessel needed to separate. (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom"; Star Trek Generations) Galaxy-class ships had one of the largest medical care facilities in the fleet, taking up the majority of Deck 12.

In an alternate timeline, Captain Rachel Garrett marveled at the size and advancement of the Enterprise-D sickbay, stating that she had "never seen anything like it before, even on a starbase." (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise", "Remember Me") Galaxy-class ships normally had several doctors on board and at least four medical personnel on duty at all times. (TNG: "Remember Me", "Genesis")

The set for the Galaxy-class sickbay was located on Paramount Stage 9. ("Manhunt" shooting schedule) In the alternate timeline featured in "Yesterday's Enterprise", the Enterprise-D sickbay was made to look slightly different from its usual appearances. As well as the room incorporating unusually darkened lighting devised by Director of Photography Marvin V. Rush, the coloration of backlit strips near the ceiling was changed to yellow. ("Yesterday's Enterprise" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray)


On Intrepid-class ships, sickbay was located on Deck 5. (VOY: "Tuvix", "Flashback") The entire medical staff consisted of a doctor and a nurse. Intrepid-class starships were also supplemented by the then new Emergency Medical Holographic program or EMH. (VOY: "Caretaker") Sickbays on the Intrepid-class were unable to handle heavy patient loads, much to the frustration of Voyager's EMH, who requested a larger facility at some point during Voyager's journey through the Delta Quadrant. (VOY: "Deadlock", "Waking Moments")


Defiant class sickbay

Sickbay aboard a Defiant-class starship

On Defiant-class ships, sickbay was on Deck 2. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual) Sickbays were spartan, usually staffed with a single physician or medic. The room was equipped with limited surgical facilities and was primarily intended to stabilize patients until they could be delivered to a nearby friendly starbase medical facility. (DS9: "Waltz", "Valiant")


Aboard the Sovereign-class, sickbay wards could be found on Decks 8 and 16 (the latter of which was a smaller facility resembling the sickbay of an Intrepid-class ship). Sovereign-class sickbays were equipped with an EMH. (Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek Nemesis)

For Star Trek First Contact, the Deck 16 sickbay was represented by the sickbay set for Star Trek: Voyager. For Star Trek Nemesis, the sickbay (presumably the one on Deck 8) was represented with a set built on Paramount Stage 17. (Information from shooting schedule)


Prometheus class sickbay

Sickbay aboard a Prometheus-class starship

Sickbays on the Prometheus-class were somewhat small, each containing a single surgical biobed and a spartan research area. However, the sickbays were stocked with the latest in medical technologies and were the first to test the EMH Mark II. (VOY: "Message in a Bottle")


Background information[]

In the script of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", sickbay is described as "the small 'Hospital', the pleasant and comfortably furnished room – not the usual Spartanish hospital type." The script goes on to describe the room's furnishings.

The sickbay set seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture was originally built for the aborted Star Trek: Phase II television series. It was reused for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also became the seedy bar visited by Dr. McCoy in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. (citation needededit)

The set was later revamped to serve as the USS Enterprise-D sickbay for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The sickbay set also doubled as the observation lounge set, during the first season of TNG. Its windows were covered with carpet when the set was used to represent sickbay. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 10) Outlines of where the windows were can be seen in sickbay scenes. There was a small medlab attached to this set, beyond the doors next to Dr. Crusher's office. It was crammed behind the transporter room and a difficult set to shoot, and ultimately only appeared three times: once as the Bio Lab in "Home Soil", again as Wesley's laboratory at the beginning of the third season, and in its final appearance as the tactical laboratory in "The Mind's Eye". This led to the creation of a new, separate multipurpose laboratory which appeared towards the end of the same season. Items and the layout in sickbay changed gradually as the series went on, including the removal of a brown-tinted window in front of the main bio-bed shown in "The Naked Now". (citation needededit)

It also appeared as the USS Enterprise-A sickbay in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in this same basic configuration. 24th century control panels and technology could be seen on the set in Star Trek V, but for Star Trek VI, the set was better redressed to hide the TNG-era elements.

The set was further retooled to become Voyager's sickbay for Star Trek: Voyager and the USS Enterprise-E sickbay in both Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Elements from this incarnation of the set were incorporated in the USS Prometheus in "Message in a Bottle". The set was torn down after Voyager wrapped in 2001. (citation needededit)

A new set was built for the Enterprise-E in Star Trek Nemesis, although it used the biobeds from TNG (which were originally from The Motion Picture). (citation needededit)

For the USS Defiant, the mess hall set was redressed to become sickbay. (AOL chat, 1997)

A great number of items found in the Enterprise's (NX-01) sickbay were sold in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]