Star Trek Discovery will soon be revealing a new doctor; who was the best so far?
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Space can be a pretty precarious place. If you’re not getting blown up by faulty plasma conduits, stunned by Klingon Disrupters or infected by alien parasites, the Borg are probably going to assimilate you anyway. The ship’s doctor, therefore, holds an extremely important position amongst the staff. The doctor must be a fixer of bodies and minds alike and a loyal ear for the captain. They must be a person of integrity, resourcefulness and calmness under pressure with a little humility for good measure.
Whilst the doctor might have the very latest technology at his or her disposal, many of the injuries that come through the sickbay doors are unrecognized and unheard of in the Starfleet Medical Journals. The doctor must be resourceful and quick to diagnose and treat unusual ailments.
Let’s not also forget that the doctor, as with most Western militaries of today, actually outranks the captain and can override or veto orders if he feels life is threatened. That’s not to say he can waltz onto the bridge and set a course for Rigel, but he can stop people from leaving sickbay and returning to duty if he feels it right. In each Star Trek incarnation, the doctor has been a resourceful, trusted and often witty character and everyone has their own opinion, so this is mine!
The Scoring: Each doctor will be scored on bedside manner, resourcefulness and results.
Here we go. It’s a 5 way doctor duel.
5. Dr Julian Bashir (Star Trek Deep: Space Nine)
Dr Bashir is a more than competent doctor and if I was ill, I honestly would mind him giving me a hypospray or dietary advice, but I feel his character was a little lost. Yes, he best buddies with Miles O’Brien and spent many episodes in medieval scenarios in the holodeck, and yes he was genetically enhanced to improve his mental capacity and functionality, but he wasn’t the best doctor for me. He spent far too long being pretty, chasing after girls and looking away from a microscope really, really slowly.
He did save lives and he had nice hair, but he just wasn’t attentive enough, despite DS9 being an excellent and underrated series overall. He wasn’t the worst doctor; he did beat Dr Pulaski who sadly didn’t make it into our top 5.
4. The Doctor (Star Trek: Voyager)
The Doctor, or Emergency Medical Hologram, was a fantastic physician. He had the accuracy of a computer and the knowledge of one as well. If I had a broken toe or a heart that needed transplanting, I would totally trust that the EMH would have me back up and running in a very short space of time.
The problem, however, and the reason for his 4th place position is that before they miraculously found technology from the future, he was confined to the sickbay. What if I was injured on an away mission and need treatment in a location where the transporter couldn’t beam me out? Rely on Tom Paris or Kes? I liked what they were trying to do with this doctor and he was something different from the usual, but there were too many loopholes that we tamely explained away. He also had the bedside manner of a smarmy old woman at the start, and throughout to be fair. But, he was an excellent doctor and had a beautiful singing voice.
3. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Star Trek: The Original Series)
It is hard for me to make this call as I was never a fan of TOS. The Original Series was cancelled many years before I was born and although I respected the show because of what it would become, I never quite warmed to it. I grew up watching TNG and when I started to watch TOS episodes I found them antiquated and overly camp and dramatic. That being said, Spock was a brilliant science officer and Bones was a great doctor. They worked incredibly well as a team and complemented each other’s skills and traits. He saved the captains life a few times, and most of the crews for that matter. The problem I have with Bones is that people tended to die when they were around him; even If they weren’t wearing red shirt. Nobody in Trek history has uttered the infamous words ‘He’s dead Jim’ more than Bones McCoy. Plus his bedside manner needed a little bit of work.
2. Phlox (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Firstly, whilst Enterprise may be an acquired taste, Phlox is the only doctor on this list to fully cure someone of Borg-ness, mid-assimilation. He cured himself after being injected with Borg Nanoprobes before he even knew what a Borg was. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t excuse the episode for being totally ridiculous, but it does make Phlox a badass physician.
His bedside manner was on point and he had a host of creepy crawlies to treat any illness that or might not occur. He even had Tribble’s, which he fed to other things occasionally, presumably before Tribble ownership was outlawed. Phlox was an old school physician who had experience from across the galaxy, and he had multiple wives and he even cloned Trip Tucker. Ultimately, he was a doctor that had none of the technology of the others, yet cured similar illnesses with what he had available. He was also pretty marvelous in the Mirror Universe which turned out to be some of Enterprise’s best material.
1. Beverly Crusher (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
It was a difficult choice to make but I stand by my decision. Beverley Crusher is a rare breed (not an alien, a mother) in Star Trek terms. She is one of the only mothers throughout the series and I feel this was an avenue not explored on some of the other series’. In a 24th century Erin Brokovich-esque way, Beverley Crusher managed being a single parent to an awkward son and a trustworthy doctor to the Enterprise crew. Beverly Crusher was called in to replace Dr Pulaski at the last minute and she succeeded brilliantly.
Crusher was everything I could want from a doctor. She was smart, strong, resourceful and she saved every single person on the ship on multiple occasions. Ok she couldn’t do anything for poor Tasha Yar, but I blame that on the writers and not Beverley Crusher. Her bedside manners were spot on and she had a caring personality. She was kind of hot, but not too hot that you didn’t trust her. Whilst most teenagers, myself included, were lusting over Deanna Troi, Beverley Crusher is the one you come back to and wonder how you missed her. A lovely person and a great doctor.