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Hospital ships or medical ships (occasionally mercy ships) were a type of starship used by Federation, allied and threat forces. Not always purpose-built from the keel up, they were tasked with serving as emergency medical care that was outside the capacity of any one starship's sickbay. Hospital ships were stationed near the front lines of military engagements, and also accompanied missions of evacuation or colonial resettlement.
As was the case with science scouts and survey vessels, such ships were often lightly armed (usually only with phasers). They were often accompanied by at least one escort vessel, a destroyer or frigate, especially during wartime. (Kitbashed Starships: USS Hope (NCC-H235); Star Trek: Shadowstar Station: "Rescue the Perishing")
- Kitbashed Starships does not specify the class of the escort vessel(s), but "Rescue the Perishing" does.
In the Federation Starfleet, classes of hospital ships ranged in size from those based on Gagarin-class, Surya-class and Avenger-class spaceframes up to dedicated transport pods attached to Ptolemy-class transport/tugs. An example of the latter was the Nightingale, which was attached to the USS Lagrange in the 2280s. (Starfleet International: Starfleet Communiqué, May 1985)
The Federation hospital ship Haven, commanded by Commodore Gerald Spencer, crashed into a drydock in Earth orbit and destroyed both itself and the dock in 2273. Among the casualties was Nyota Uhura's brother Shani, a physician assigned to the Haven. (Orion Press: "The Guilt Complex")
The Interstellar Concordium, in addition of fielding hospital ships, also fielded psychiatric hospital ships, in addition to the former type. Also, the Presidium-class super-dreadnought Averment was refitted as a psychiatric hospital ship somewhere in the early 24th century. (RIS Bouteina: "The Day Where Students Have Stopped Calculating")
M'Benga-class (FASA RPG: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual) and Olympic-class starships (TNG: "All Good Things...") were hospital ships on active duty in Starfleet during the late 24th century.
The Lyrans didn't have purpose-built hospital ships; when they needed frontline hospitals, they just chucked temporary sickbays into a ship that was somewhat less armed than other warships. (RIS Bouteina: "Broken Bread")
By the 25th century, the Lyran Starfleet finally fielded hospital ships, normally commanded by non-Lyrans, because Lyrans usually not thought much about these ships, as commanding an hospital ship (the Enterprise in particular) was considered the most undesirable posting of all among Lyrans in the Lyran Starfleet. (Star Trek: The Stoneship Files: "Highly Illogical")
Both Federation Starfleet and Lyran Starfleet granted priority to hospital ships for posting, and only starbases superseded hospital ships in the order of medical precedence for healthcare professionals that weren't physicians, counselors or nurses. As a result, the only ship in either Federation or Lyran Starfleet that wasn't an hospital ship that included the full range of medical professionals was the USS Enterprise-F. (Star Trek: False Vacuum: "Wagon Train to the Stars")
Hospital ship classesEdit
- Byrne-class (Federation Spaceflight Chronology, vol. 8)
- Consolation-class (Romulan Encyclopedia)
- Hippocrates-class (LUG)
- Hippocrates-class (Starfleet Dynamics)
- Hippocrates-class (24th century)
- Hopkins-class (Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology; Federation Spaceflight Chronology, vol. 8)
- Miranda-class (Star Fleet Battles)
- Stoneship-class (early units)