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Preface:

I'm worldbuilding for a story that has been in my head for ages, it's a kinda SciFi/Fantasy combo. There is one "godlike" being that can alter how physics work in a certain area, and it's the source of all "super-tech" in this world.

Real science has not advanced much from our own, no FTL engines nor food replicators or anything of the sort. All the "SciFi/Fantasy" is perpretated either by this godlike being, or his "clerics". The clerics have a connection with this being, and can borrow it's powers. Spaceships need a Cleric if they want to travel farther than the moon, as the Cleric can teleport the whole ship to the destination, generate artificial gravity, and operate a lot of systems that depend on "magic" to work, as they are not feasible today.

These Clerics are already a necessity in my spacefaring society, but I was thinking of ways to make them more essential. One such way, commonly associated in Fantasy tropes, is healing.

There is not much one can do to heal others by means of altering the laws of physics, but I thought that maybe teleporting "things" in and out of a body could be a way for a Cleric to "heal".

I'm no medic, so this might be super wrong but... Could one teleport away a cancer tumor? Or the appendix? Or teleport "in" a pacemaker? Maybe teleport away fluid from the skull instead of having to perforate it for release when it builds up.

Actual question:

  1. Would teleporting objects in or out of the patient body be a "useful" medical practice?

  2. Teleporting away a tumor, for example, would that cause internal bleeding and horrible death? Could you teleport something "in" to "seal" the wound and avoid it?

Notes: I haven't decided if teleporting swaps the positions of the mass from point A to point B, or if when A arrives to destination pushes other mass away, or gets "entangled" with it. You can choose whatever you decide is best for your answer

Added Info

How precise can they be?: They need to figure out the shape, size and position of what they need to teleport. The mass is nos needed, they define an area in space and teleport whatever is inside it. They can be as precise as the tools for detection allows them. Figure that what is now the high end in diagnostic tools (X-Rays, MRI, TAG, etc...) is commonplace then. I figure this wouldn't be milimetrical, but I'm no expert.

When teleporting things that they can see and touch, their precision is very good, and having a good scanning equipment and dedicating time to define the area to teleport, they can be almost perfectly accurate.

What can they teleport? Individual cells? Yes, if their detection tool is precise enough, the rest depends on the skill of the teleporter. Assume some specialice in minute teleports and are very skilled at this. They would not be able to teleport away the solute from the solvent in a homogenous solution. I don't see how, at least. That means they can't take away posion from the blood stream, for example.

I'm ok with this being niche in utility, as long as it has some. The interest in this is making Clerics a little more ubiquitous, and necessary for some things, or even a luxury: Ff Mr.Richman can afford a "teleport surgery" for his son but Mr.Everyman has to bring him to the hospital, expose his child to surgery, recovery time, etc...

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  • $\begingroup$ How precise are they? How would they even know where tumor is? Can they perceive single tumor cells? Single viruses?... $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 29 '18 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ I'm away from my computer now, I'll add the extra info ASAP $\endgroup$ – Helwar May 29 '18 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Changing the laws of physics could make X-Rays/CAT scans more sensitive with less radiation $\endgroup$ – Michael Kutz May 29 '18 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ Somewhat related, using essentially "sound waves". technologyreview.com/s/414429/brain-surgery-using-sound-waves $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble May 29 '18 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ I would recommend looking into the tech behind the Animorphs series, where injuries are "healed" by morphing (explained that morphing basically 'rebuilds' the being from DNA, like a template). On at least one occasion, a paraplegic from an early-age accident was completely 'healed', everything from the spine down to the atrophied leg muscles upon morphing back into human form. a Transporter system based on a similar "DNA template" design could work in a similar fashion $\endgroup$ – Robotnik May 31 '18 at 0:40
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Teleporting matter in or out would be useful.

Actual question: Would teleporting objects in or out of the patient body be a "useful" medical practice?

Some of the obvious utility would be:

  • drug delivery
  • foreign object removal
  • medical device implants

Mitigating hemorrhaging

Teleporting away a tumor, for example, would that cause internal bleeding and horrible death? Could you teleport something "in" to "seal" the wound and avoid it?

You can mitigate hemorrhaging by insertion of:

  • shunts
  • absorbent material
  • extra cellular matrix
  • adhesives
  • clamps

In the case of mechanisms that need to tighten, cure, or adhere, the chemistry of the material could be activated by contact with the blood by iron, oxygen, water, some unspecified serum component.

Example

A damaged liver segment needs to be removed.

  1. Prior to excision by teleportation, synthetic arteries are teleported into position to shunt the blood supply.

  2. Each synthetic artery has ends are capped with an adherent material that rapidly anneals to and integrates with the existing arterial walls ensuring a smooth leak free vascular transition.

  3. The segment is then excised.

  4. A thin layer of a cauterizing agent backed by biodegradable gauze to fill and stabilize the void is put into place.

  5. Finally, micro doses of anti-anxiety and pain killers are teleported directly into the brain centers that respond to the respective compounds.

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    $\begingroup$ So basically “just do what normal surgery does without the cutting“ $\endgroup$ – DonQuiKong May 31 '18 at 6:55
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By teleport, could you say that they manipulate and/or fold space?
Meaning the clerics could potentially take an internal area of the body and have it accessible from the outside without opening the patient up, or even disconnecting anything.

By very precisely folding space the whole heart could be accessible, while still staying connected to all of the blood vessels. Just the little patch of space where the heart resides is now located on a table several feet away until the surgeon is finished, and then space is unfolded and the heart is back like it was before. As far as the patient is concerned nothing much happened.

Edit:
This does also work for teleporting spaceships across space.
Basically the bit of space surrounding our ship gets folded so now it is somewhere else. Then the ship leaves the folded space at their destination and the cleric can unfold it, returning that bit of reality back to where it belongs.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very weird idea... Not what I was thinking at all, but looks promising! Yes, I think they would be able to do that... This seems more useful than just tepelorting things in and out! Thanks $\endgroup$ – Helwar May 29 '18 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ As an added bonus, any medical journals would be completely useless to the uninitiated, because the application requires the use of folding space, a Cleric-only capability. Any medical advancements the Clerics achieve could be kept as secret as desired without any effort at all. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 29 '18 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ That rather depends on your concept of "folding space", If topologically speaking your organ is still connected, problem solved, imagine more that space-time is being stretched between two locations. The heart's bulk is physically located 3 feet away, but to the arteries, it's no distance at all and they aren't even being stretched. What that looks like is a question for art-directors, either a streamer of visually-distorted blood vessels connected to the body or the vessels simply "cutting off" in mid-air would work. To all intents and purposes, the organ is still inside the body. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan May 30 '18 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Fair to say, if you can fold space, a required secondary power would be to be able to see folded space. It also wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that you could fold some light into the person's abdomen to illuminate the organ while you work on it. We're already talking about making spacetime sit up and beg, being able to see a folded-out heart on the operating table is the least of our problems :P - An alternative approach is a kind of space-time key-hole surgery, using folded spacetime to allow a scalpel to move past other organs and cut only what's necessary in-situ. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan May 31 '18 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan2300 going with a folded space version of laparoscopic surgery would make a lot of sense. $\endgroup$ – Anketam May 31 '18 at 10:58
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Several more ideas and some fridge horror to go with a few of them:

Emergency Response

An indirect use of teleportation in the world of healing and surgery is to speed up how fast you can respond to an emergency. If a cleric can teleport themselves to a scene of an accident, then they can immediately render first aid. Once they prep the person for teleportation they can directly teleport them to the nearest hospital that is expecting them. Prepping an injured person for teleportation would likely involve bracing the injured area, putting a neck brace on and/or helmet on, and warning them that they may feel a slight drop (as in they miscalculate the teleport and they arrive a few inches above the bed). One of the other uses would be teleporting an organ donation to its destination rather than delivering it. Faster an organ gets to its recipient the better.

In Vitro Fertilization

Being able to teleport sperm directly into a woman can help deal with several problems that can result in infertility. If that does not work, they can possibly teleport out the egg, fertilize it, and then teleport it back. It should be noted that this can lead to an odd form of rape, since a cleric could potentially perform this operation on an unwilling person without their knowledge. It could also lead to virgins getting pregnant.

Polyps Removal

If a person gets a colonoscopy and they find something that needs to be removed like polys, the teleportation could help speed up the surgery.

Child Birth

With teleportation there is no longer a need to perform a cesarean section. If a baby is breached or there is something going wrong with the pregnancy and they need to get the baby out of there teleportation would be very useful. Star Trek: Voyager does something like this using the transporters to deliver a baby.

Abortions

If teleportation can deliver a baby, then it can be concluded that it can remove a fetus. Considering there is a lot of strongly held beliefs and views on abortion this can result in a lot of in universe conflict. Also, since clerics are the ones who can perform the teleport would their theology even allow them to do this?

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  • $\begingroup$ There are some great ideas here! The cleric's religion is quite more... pragmatic, than dogmatic. They revere the Herald as an envoy from something "superior", but don't really believe in an afterlife or a universal concept of good an evil. They worry more about the present, life and the ecosystem in general (losing earth to pollution caused that). I don't really know where the religion would stand regarding abortion though... I guess they wouldn't technically be against it in order to avoid overpopulation... $\endgroup$ – Helwar May 29 '18 at 23:23
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I will use the spoon and fork quote:

You don't use a fork to drink soup but that doesn't make the fork useless Just that it doesn't work when drinking soup

Your Surgery by teleporting is only effective in SOME medical examples. like if you are teleporting away a tumour it would (some of the time) cause internal bleeding (cant teleport cut veins) but it does have its usefulness like removing a foreign body like shrapnel or certain cancers. So to sum it all up it would be useful but not a cure all, people would still go under the knife and doctors would still be needed.

It’s not the tool it's how you use it

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  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, there would be quite a learning curve as they figure out WHICH ailments the clerical skillset would be good for! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas May 29 '18 at 21:05
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    $\begingroup$ I have literally used a fork to drink soup before. As the idiom goes, "When all you have is a Hammer, everything starts to look like a nail". Teleportation as a power is remarkably versatile when you have sufficient control and power. Maybe not ideal, but it depends very much on the quality of the ability. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan May 31 '18 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan2300 there are ops that Clerics could never do an example kidney cancer. if the Cleric removed every single cancer cell the patient would still die from blood loss because the cancer was part of the kidney and the kidney has a massive blood supply that if cut would course massive blood loss. as another idiom goes: "using a scalpel over a hammer" fits well with this... but what do i know i just drink my soup with a spoon :) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon May 31 '18 at 10:18
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One option to consider is turning the entire premise on its head by considering the mechanism of teleportation: What, exactly, happens when one teleports?

In your world, teleportation could occur through the deconstruction in one location and its reconstruction in a different location. A Cleric would teleport an object by fully understanding its nature, deconstructing it, and reconstructing it elsewhere. Any extraneous objects outside that understanding would be left behind. Thus only the most advanced and skilled/knowledgeable clerics could legally work with the most complex objects (human body, spaceships, etc), while the apprentice and entry-level Clerics could legally work with simpler objects (foodstuffs, machine parts, medicines).

In the case you presented, a very advanced Cleric could "teleport" a human body from one bed to another, leaving behind any unnatural or foreign matter such as a tumor, a bullet, a poison, or a scar, even if they didn't know its precise location, thus appearing both miraculous and powerful. But an entry-level Cleric could only operate on the thing itself by inserting medicines and the like as other answers suggested.

Similarly, an advanced Cleric could teleport an entire ship and its contents, while an intermediate Cleric could only safely teleport the ship itself, and a beginner could only teleport a few nuts and bolts at a time.

This also introduces the idea of "hacks" that work outside their legally "licensed" realm of expertise, perhaps with unintended consequences...

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It really depends how precise a tool teleportation is, surgery is done with small and very sharp objects because they allow you to make very precise cuts. I'd say that teleporting material out of the body would be a dodgy prospect but teleporting things in could be very useful; need to deliver anticancer drugs to an inoperable tumour? Teleport. Need to clamp a vessel you can see but can't get a traditional tool into the area? Teleport. Also for swapping out existing implants, like pacemaker batteries, teleportation would be handy as a non-surgical method. The one thing you might get away with pulling out would be bone splinters from really bad breaks.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also useful for things like kidney stones or calcified cysts, which do not have a connection to the body's blood supply. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal May 30 '18 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Chronocidal I worry about the risk of getting tissue as well as the target matter. $\endgroup$ – Ash May 30 '18 at 12:21
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First, Anything sufficiently advanced will appear to be magic even if it isn't.

For example, in Star Trek, matter is converted to energy and then back to matter during the transport cycle. The body is temporarily held in a transport buffer at which point any cells can be removed,added, or transformed into other cells.

Even if the clerics didn't have this precise ability, a skilled cleric, could move cells around during the transport process. The 2 side of a cut would be moved back together, and rebonded at a cellular level as if nothing had ever happened.

  1. Removing foreign objects, nail, bullets, or etc easy.

  2. Removing plaque in the veins, and any other sort of build would also be trivial. Even cleaning teeth would be trivial. Fat cells removed for weight loss. Maybe fat cells could be recycled, and used in the process of healing someone else.

  3. In this case, a tumor wouldn't just be removed it would be transformed back to normal matter.

  4. In the case of a tear of skin, the skin would be beamed back into place as if it had never happened.

  5. As long as the head survives, it could be teleported onto another spare body, with a cleric with enough skill. They could then move on with their life as if nothing had changed.

If you are that advanced making small amounts of flesh from matter, and teleporting it into place completely sealing the wound.

Even if you couldn't make flesh from matter, you could teleport clamps, and maybe even stitch right into place.

Given the right kind of teleportation, physically cutting you open would be pointless and obsolete. Especially with clerics of advanced training levels.

This would definitely be the case of the rich and the regular people, as the rich would routinely have their veins, blood, teeth, and everything else cleaned at the cellular level. A regular family could not afford this luxury. Basically, the rich family would have one of these cleric living with them. Probably even traveling with them, as a member of the family. Break a leg on vacation, "magic", and the cells are re-bonded back into place as if nothing had happened. Every morning the family has their teeth cleaned, plaque(teeth and veins) removed, bowel emptied(maybe), and etc. The cleric may even be good enough to teleport the "common cold" cells from the body, this nearly instantly curing them.

Certainly, good school, would have one on staff to cure common things that occur during daily life. Catch a stomach bug, "magic", stomach emptied down the drain. Colds/flus and etc all healed by having infect cells immediately removed. Constipation, "magic", the blockage is gone, the inverse condition the liquids removed from your bowel.

Caesarean section, obsolete, "magic" and the baby is removed and placed on the table. If any organ couldn't be repaired for any reason, "magic" and its removed. "magic" again and the cells on the end are fused to stop, what otherwise would be internal bleeding.

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  • $\begingroup$ As with all super-powers, what can and can't be done is generally a function of precision vs power. - With infinite precision and infinite power, any given ability can be used to do almost anything any other power can do. You're describing an ultra-high precision application of teleportation, fidelity of control and narrowness of focus. A high power version would affect size of object and distance travelled in contrast. The difference between using a laser to project images in crystal or to blast missiles out of the air at a mile's distance. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan May 30 '18 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan2300 OP Quote:"What can they teleport? Individual cells? Yes" This level of precision may or may not be enough for everything I describe, but it covers a lot of ground. OP Quote "They can be as precise as the tools for detection allows them. Figure that what is now the high end in diagnostic tools (X-Rays, MRI, TAG, etc...) is commonplace then. " $\endgroup$ – cybernard May 30 '18 at 15:59
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How do your clerics "select" the matter? From your question it sounds like they do it spatially, perhaps by envisaging the volume to be removed or something. However that isn't going to work for surgery because they will be operating blind. A real surgeon can see what they are cutting and hence decide to cut that bit of tumour but avoid the nerve running next to it. Your clerical surgeons need to be able to do the same.

So for this to work these clerics must be able to sense the properties of the matter they are manipulating and hence distinguish between matter to be removed and matter to be left. If so then they don't actually need to teleport it: killing a cancer in place is just as good as excising it and doesn't leave any nasty internal haemorrhages.

By the way, if the teleported tissue is replaced by vacuum then you will injure or kill the patient by hydrostatic shock. If it is replaced by the air where the item is teleported to then you had better make sure the air is sterile and doesn't get in the blood. Maybe swapping the teleported tissue with sterile saline is the best option.

Surgeons identify different tissues by their appearance, but whatever mode of perception is made available to these clerics is unlikely to work like that. So you need to think about what they do perceive. Can they identify DNA? Perhaps, given a sample (e.g. a biopsy) of a tumour they can then identify any other tissue with the same DNA mutation. Its a noisy signal (lots of cells in your body have all sorts of mutations that don't turn into cancer), but they would be able to perceive any metastasized tumours and deal with them.

How precise this gets is going to be important. Once a tumour metastasizes there are cancerous cells floating around the body. Every so often one of them manages to latch on somewhere and start reproducing, and you get a new tumour. If your clerics have 1mm resolution then they can zap growing tumours but not eliminate the disease completely. So the patient is kept alive and healthy, but needs to come back to the clinic every year for repeat treatment.

On the other hand if your clerics can do the molecular equivalent of a SQL "select" statement then they could target every cell with the mutation and cure the disease instantly. They could also cure infectious diseases in the same way; just teleport all the pathogens out of the body.

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