A couple of years ago, I did a series of world building posts that concentrated on different aspects of the world building we do in our stories. We all build the “worlds” our characters inhabit. Sometimes we call it “setting” instead of world building. Whatever we call it, we develop the conditions surrounding our characters. Today, I’m concentrating on medicine of the future.
In my science fiction romance, The Pilot (An Outer Rime Novel), a medi-healer is used to cure the hero’s infection. In my world, the handheld device is too expensive for a cargo pilot (the heroine) to own. But her brother, who works for a galactic gangster, has one. He waved the device over the patient. It diagnosed and cured. A medi-healer would’ve come in handy for me two weeks ago.
This has been a bad winter health-wise for many people. Influenza that the flu shots didn’t prevent. People in hospitals, even dying. I counted my self lucky that when Hubs and other members of the family got sick I didn’t. My luck ran out right before Easter. I woke up coughing. Okay, a cold finally hit. So I thought. If I’d had a handy-dandy medical tricorder, like Star Trek’s Doctor McCoy, it would’ve told me I had pneumonia. In a scenario from The Pilot, a medi-healer would’ve diagnosed then cured. All with a wave of the device. No going to Urgent Care, no x-rays, no courses of antibiotics—one to cure pneumonia and a second course to take care of a subsequent sinus/ear infection.
That got me thinking about what else would the future hold in the medical field. In The Pilot, my character used a hover board to carry a patient to the medical center. It rises above the ground on a steady stream of air and is guided by one person. Remember the scene in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back when Han, encased in carbonite, is guided to the bounty hunter’s ship?
Creating a cyborg isn’t the future. It’s here now. Artificial joints are common. I have two titanium knees, and I know people who’ve had hip and shoulder replacements. Mechanical hands that function like real ones by being connected to the brain. The “Six Million Dollar Man” was fantasy back in 1974. Today, the severely injured can now be “rebuilt” with artificial arms and legs.
In Greta van der Rol’s Iron Admiral series, humans are fitted with neuro implants that allow them to speak without words. They can access data ports using their implants, no typing necessary, and store the info until it can be downloaded. Fiction? As his ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) advanced, Stephen Hawking, the physicist and cosmologist who just passed away, was unable to speak. Using a speech-generating device (SGD), he was able to communicate using a single cheek muscle. SGDs are used by many people for whom speech is impossible or difficult.
What else is coming in the medical field? Organ transplanting isn’t new. Creating an organ, like a kidney, using a 3-D printer is a real possibility. Curing diseases using a cell instead of a pill. Surgery using ultrasound instead of a knife. A vaccine patch instead of an injections. Robots doing surgery.
Nanobots, microscopic machines, could carry medicine to certain parts of the body to heal diseased parts or destroy (cancer cells) on a molecular level. In science fiction, nanobots are commonly used. Yet the thought of tiny robots running around through my blood stream is kind of creepy. If nanobots could destroy cancer cells without the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation, I’d take the nanobots.
What other fantastical medical advances are possible?
The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel) blurb:
Sparks fly around the Outer Rim when rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano clashes with free-spirited space pilot Celara d'Enfaden. She must deliver her cargo or lose her ship to a loanshark. Having lost her last shipment to pirates masquerading as Coalition Inspectors, Celara refuses to be duped again. Determined to make an example of those who flaunt the law, Trevarr seizes her ship. Yet, they must work together to rescue her brother and find his wife's murderer.
The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel) is available at: