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Medical stations and qualified doctors are few and far between within the outer colonies while most patients can be serviced at the usual medical facility (every station is required to have one), but for more severe cases the patient's would need to be rushed to medical facilities within the inner planets. Stepping into this role is the Medrunners.

Medrunners main job is to: assess, stabilize, and freeze. To do this they serve as EMTs in quickly assessing the patient and doing what they must go stabilize the patient so they can be put in cryosleep for the ride. In this line of work the Medrunners quickly gained the nickname butcher due to the lengths they are willing to go to stabilize a patient (amputations, cauterizing wounds, and in a short span of time).

Now the problem I've run into is team/crew size as well as specific roles/jobs within the team. For sure you have to have more than one, but I personally have no idea what the ideal team size would be.

Note:

Medrunners themselves don't go into cryo unless it's a long trip. Ex: Eris to Ceres.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there an autopilot? $\endgroup$ – Tantalus' touch. Feb 25 '19 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Agrajag to be honest I've always assumed every ship would have autopilot. A operator is required by law to be present for initial acceleration, deceleration, and of course docking. With Medrunners someone needs to "punch it" to start rapid acceleration $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Feb 25 '19 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ I forsee a problem. To be so hurt that you need stabilization, amputation etc to survive you need severe wounds that will likely kill you in minutes. The other option is highly specific diseases and wounds that take just enough time to get almost lethal as the time it takes for the ambulance to get there. A potential fluff solution: The inner planet that sends them can basically teleport them very close to the planet so it takes mere minutes to arrive, but the facilities don't allow them to teleport back so they need to travel what goes for "normally" in your universe. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Feb 25 '19 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan. You can cauterize wounds I'm pretty sure. Not pretty but gets the job done $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Feb 25 '19 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Versus "Butcher" which conveys not just quick brutal actions, but also high fatality and a certain inherent capacity for cruelty, I propose you return to the ages-old naval and battlefield description for doctors: Sawbones. Conveys it perfectly; brutal, effective, unafraid of hard, fast decisions and instant amputations. My ex-Royal Navy Dad, now in his late 80's, still calls all doctors "Sawbones". $\endgroup$ – GerardFalla Feb 25 '19 at 22:49
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Paramedic Crews here in Victoria, Australia, have a specialized responder for intensive care scenarios with two other paramedics. You would need an extra person to oversee and prep freezing.

One for telemetry, one for medical administration of patient, one specialized medical administrator, and one specialized cryotherapy administrator.

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The ideal crew size would be zero. Depending on the realism level of your setting, the trip from the outer planets to the inner ones could take months. Imagine the expense of paying a living crew for that journey, not to mention for reserving the crewed vessel for that period. It would likely make that method of rescue prohibitively expensive in practice. Instead, the required medical facilities could have unmanned automated medical drones that could transport the frozen patient for significantly less and potentially faster since accel/decel could be at higher Gs.

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  • $\begingroup$ If there is an autopilot and cryogenics being common is it safe to assume AI is also something that's common in that world, it will be more realistic to have it automated then to have a crew along for the ride. $\endgroup$ – cypher Feb 25 '19 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ @cypher you could have 99% automated, but maybe some law requires a operator be present $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Feb 25 '19 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ If there is such a law that the ideal number is the minimum amount of people the law requires you to have on board $\endgroup$ – cypher Feb 25 '19 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ That far into the future it may be the case that human-in-the-loop might be considered an unnecessary risk and liability when it comes to life-saving. An automated ambulance could be a completely robotic surgical theater where AI could make practically instant decisions while referring to a complete database of known human physiology and in a package not much larger than a panel van. $\endgroup$ – dhinson919 Feb 26 '19 at 1:09
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Similar to dhinson919's answer, I imagine that the best approach would be to have the vessel transporting the patient to be unmanned.You would need an incredibly large fleet of medrunners and ships if each ship and crew could take months transporting a single patient. Potentially, you could have trained medical staff stationed on outer rim planets locations, and only respond to calls on that space station/planet. They would perform immediate medical aid, and if necessary, freeze the patient and use an unmanned pod to transport the patient to the nearest medical station capable of treating them.

One of the issues you're going to have to solve is the response time to these remote locations. Unless each outer rim planet has their own sufficiently large medrunner detachment, the response times are going to be so large that the patient will be long dead by the time they arrive. One alternative is to have roving medical frigates that patrol the outer rim. Upon receiving a call they could dispatch a smaller vessel to get to the area in a substantially smaller amount of time (or just having the staff stationed on these sites themselves.) Upon arriving at the patient, they treat the patient, load them up in the pod, send it off, and then move on to the next patient.

Given the complexity of space travel and medicine, the crew of the ambulance would probably be broken down in to flight crew and medical crew- a pilot and co-pilot, who navigate the ship (obviously), and a pair of EMTs- although the EMTs would probably need some basic flight training and vice versa. This would be a similar to the composition of air ambulance services in the UK.

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Medical stations and qualified doctors are few and far between within the outer colonies

If they are few you don't want those few to be stuck in a lengthy space trip, since you don't know when the next emergency requiring their presence will come.

You just equip each emergency ship with robots for automatic treatments and, for the more delicate cases, robots for remote intervention with enhanced capabilities.

Your crew will then connect remotely to operate these robots, granting that they will be available at any time and at any place.

Since you have to deal with the delay in communication, you may want to have smart robots, capable of taking some initiative in certain case where the delay in communication could be fatal.

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  • $\begingroup$ the qualified doctors wouldn't be Medrunners and let's say for legal reasons that a human doctor or operator must be present for any operation even if you're using drones to do the surgery $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Feb 25 '19 at 13:03
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Unless you have torchships, your trips are going to be very long and slow, on the order of months to years between any two planets. Which means you need a full ship crew with engineering crew besides the medics, unless you can run them fully automated, that depends likely on your tech. If you have a manned spacecraft, the overhead is likely enough that you would not have an ambulance, but use a sickbay on a freighter that is scheduled to travel anyway to the nearest hospital. Since orbital mechanics restrict when you can fly to where anyway, the chances of a ship using that path already is quite good, and any ship will have some 'doc' on board anyway.

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