Did Phlox ever have a nurse in any season?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by V, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. V

    V Commodore Commodore

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    I'm introducing Trek (all five shows) to a friend who started watching because of the JJ Abrams Trek XI.

    Several members of my friend's family are actually registered nurses.

    Thus when I explained that the NX-01 has *stewards* (that is, waiters) but Phlox has no medical staff and no nurses, my friend found this absurd.

    Now, I did explain that in the pilot, the whole point was that they rushed out of spacedock then never turned around for two years for fear that they'd be grounded again by red tape if they did, that originally it was just a straightforward trip to the Klingon homeworld, and that they left in a hurry -- other episodes emphasize that they didn't even fully install all of their weapons yet (Reed had to install some of their phasers by hand on the fly).

    Still, even for a short trip, its kind of silly that Phlox didn't take along any random nurses, even just grabbing whoever was on the space station's staff.

    Seriously, the first ship out there, a crew of only 83 people, and some of them are *waiters*?

    ***Well then again its a crew of only 83 people so it probably doesn't need a large medical staff.

    My friend conceded all of these points....for seasons 1 and 2.

    but they returned to Earth at the end of season 2 and the end of season 3.

    Does anyone remember seeing random extras playing nurses in seasons 3 and 4?

    Nobody died in seasons 1 and 2 so there wasn't much need for nurses. Maybe during the Xindi arc when they took losses?

    Granted, its a small crew so a small medical staff; but doesn't even one doctor need an extra pair of hands? Even on Voyager, once Kes left, the Doctor made Paris train as his nurse, pointing out that for some medical procedures he simply needed more than one pair of hands.

    ***my running theory is that similar to how Paris got trained-up as an unofficial nurse, that the idea was that Crewman Elizabeth Cutler was being set up as Phlox's assistant -- see "Two Days and Two Nights" -- but that this idea was dropped after the actress's sudden death.
     
  2. V

    V Commodore Commodore

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    Okay according to ye-olde Memory Alpha: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cutler

    Yes, it was a situation comparable to when the Voyager Doctor trained-up Paris as an interim medic.

    There are episodes when Phlox and others state in dialogue that she's functioning as a "medic" (even though her actual job is in entomology, but hey, she's in the biology division blue-shirts so that's better than training up a security guard). And in "Two Days and Two Nights", she's officially being the acting-Doctor for the skeleton crew while Phlox is hibernating (though they point out she isn't that great at it and needs to wake up Phlox).

    So my functional guess is that she was indeed intended to be the "nurse" character, they talk about her in interviews as his nurse, but when the actress died, out of respect they didn't want to kill off the character as well -- thus the explicit mention precisely once in early season 3 that Cutler is still alive. So I guess because the actress died she's just "in the other room".

    Still, you'd think they'd have some extras helping Phlox in seasons 3 and 4.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There were a few medical personnel glimpsed in the background from time to time. It wasn't specified whether they were nurses, technicians, or whatever.
     
  4. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe they need less nurses than seems sensible because of all the magic equipment.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Nurses aren't just apparatus. Their role is to deal with people, to assess their needs and evaluate their condition, to plan for their care, and to offer support and comfort. It's a job built around personal interaction and decision-making, and could not be replaced by machinery. More advanced equipment could perhaps explain fewer orderlies and medical technicians, but not fewer nurses.
     
  6. kythe

    kythe Commander Red Shirt

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    Crewman Cutler was never referred to as a nurse, but as a "medic". I assumed a medic was like a first responder, someone with enough medical training to stabilize a patient in an emergency, but not a substitute for other medical personnel. A nurse has far more training. I don't believe we ever see Phlox do surgery or other complex procedures, but I suppose a medic could double as a technician who could help him.

    It's convenient too that Phlox doesn't need much sleep. He's literally there all the time, which eliminates the need for shift changes. Still, Phlox seems a little too perfect. He's able to cure all kinds of stuff single-handedly and in a short amount of time that other entire medical teams can't cure. And this seems to happen in multiple episodes. (Dear Doctor, Augments, Observer Effect, etc)
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Plug in "McCoy," "Crusher," "Pulaski," "Bashir," or "the EMH" and you wouldn't have to change a single other word in those sentences (well, except for the "he" in a couple of cases). It's just the nature of TV that the characters the series focuses on are the best around. That's why we focus on them instead of the less capable characters somewhere else.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Regarding the use of equipment onboard, Starfleet might aim to replace nurses and support staff with machinery so that the ship would have less people to keep alive - or to replace the doctor with machinery so that medicine could be handled by a bunch of generalist mechanics who'd also be doing everything else through expert machines. Both approaches make sense for spaceflight where manpower chiefly means unnecessary expenses.

    Starfleet certainly believes in generalists, as evidenced by the background extras wearing multiple "hats" (differently color-coded uniforms) and being seen doing a wide range of things. OTOH, Starfleet doesn't leave specialists ashore: there's a dedicated doctor, a dedicated weapons specialist, a dedicated communicator and so forth. Hoshi Sato would be the first to go in a "realistic" scenario, as she's but translation software on legs and the legs take up unnecessary room... So we can assume either that Starfleet doesn't need to be that stingy and can afford the legs, or that Starfleet can't do the software without the wetware yet. And IMHO we're better off assuming the former. Phlox could be an affordable optional extra as well, then.

    As for medical work not being teamwork... Well, it isn't. If a cure pre-exists, a single hero can look it up in the database. If a cure evades our heroes, it will be found by gathering data from the patient and letting the computer mull it over, after which a single hero can look it up. And in Trek, the gathering of data is done by waving a device over the patient or placing him or her on a table - which is inherently far less manpower-intensive than the taking of blood or urine samples (and never mind more demanding tissue samples, perhaps from within) or listening for various vital signs. Really, the medical staff should consist of a platoon of grunts who simply drag the patients to the machine that does it all, plus the one competent operator of that machine (and her Beta and Gamma shift backups), just like we see!

    ...Excluding all the old-fashioned surgery needed to reattach severed limbs and close up bodies opened by various calamities. But for some reason (well, an obvious one), we never see those in Trek. Perhaps a patient in need of such surgery is automatically placed inside a proper surgery machine ASAP, as it is understood that no doctor is capable of the speed and precision of a machine in that application?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmmm, given McCoy's claim to fame in pop culture is saying "he's dead, Jim," I'm not sure this is accurate.
     
  10. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Possible explanations:

    1) The producers were too lazy to write for more recurring characters than they absolutely had to.
    2) They were more interested in paying for explosion-y effect shots than speaking roles.
    3) After seven years of the EMH, who literally didn't need to sleep or rest, they flat-out forgot that a ship should have more than one person in sickbay.
    4) Some combination of the above.


    There's no question that there should have been visible nurses/medics/what-have-you. A missed opportunity, like the missing Neb crew in the Matrix sequels. We get, what, a complement of eight in the first movie, then just four afterwards? Lame. :p
     
  11. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Phlox has eels, leeches, bloodworms, and other various critters to heal people with. If those don't work he'll lube you up and give you a massage in that decon chamber. Who needs a nurse?
     
  12. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wow R. Star. You'd rather be lubed and massaged by Phlox than a nurse?

    How very interesting.
     
  13. I am Surak

    I am Surak Captain Captain

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    Your powers of observation are magnificent Teacake:)
     
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That was spoken rhetorically, but if that mental image makes you happy enjoy it. ;)

    Really though... a scene where Reed and Trip are in that decon chamber together and Phlox enthusastically expects them to lube each other up would be sorta funny. Convienent how Hoshi or T'Pol were ALWAYS in there. :p
     
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That is very true.

    They could have at least pretended to cater to slash like DS9 did.
     
  16. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Plain and simple! Slashes are not plain and simple! :p
     
  17. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My dear R. Star, they're all true.
     
  18. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well we do see multiple people assisting in a few episodes, so I assume that while we don't have a nurse speaking role, that there were people with multiple training fields, who would assist Phlox.

    Based on the visual evidence, no staff present during the majority of scenes where we see one person getting treated, and seeing some form of support staff when a major ship crisis occurs, means no full time nursing staff.

    So the only real question is, was the personal there in major emergencies part time field medics, or did some have nurse training (or does Starfleet teach some sort of combined role)

    Another point is it really necessary to have a full time Nurse (or Nursing staff) on board a vessel with only 80 in crew?

    Where my father worked (he was isolated from society by hundreds of miles) and worked with about 100 men and women, and they had one full time medical staff (they were classified as a physician's assistant). Of course the one difference is that they were only a an hour or two away from Fairbanks or 2 and a half hours away from larger medical staff in Anchorage by plane). SO they didn't need a well versed and trained doctor. On Enterprise you would certainly need a doctor of considerable skill and wide based knowledge.

    But would you need a full time nurse, or even a full time medic? I would guess no (and its truly a guess) but I would assume they had cross training with a few crew, who's full time job was something else.
     
  19. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ENT and VOY both gave as much pretense to Slash as DS9 did for some of the male characters And Reed and Malcolm were certainly part of that, some would also throw Hayes and Reed in there as well for ENT.
     
  20. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nah, DS9 had Miles actually confessing to Julian that he liked him better than his wife. And a real female to female kiss. Much as I agree that Hayes was a slashy it was not as overt as that and anyone with a slash beef who thinks it is all in our heads would say so and be mostly correct.