For a ship that was supposed to carry a crew of around one thousand, the Enterprise-D’s sickbay, with its four biobeds and one surgical theater, could hardly be the only medical facility on board.
Indeed, “Tapestry”, on Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s sixth season, reveals there are three sickbay wards on the ship. Season five’s “Ethics” makes reference to private recovery rooms. Other episodes mention a diagnostics center, medical labs, a morgue and a nursery.
Some of these spaces were shown on screen. Season three’s “Transfigurations” notably featured a separate biosupport unit and a physical rehabilitation bay. But — for budget reasons — no larger medical set was built.
Season four episode “Remember Me” places sickbay on Deck 12. So does Rick Sternbach in Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints (1996). His floor plan has two identical sickbays, called intensive care units, surrounded by larger recovery bays, isolation wards and dedicated treatment facilities.
What could have been
In 2005, we got a glimpse of what could have been when Andrew Probert, Sternbach’s predecessor on The Next Generation, prepared a number of sketches of a Galaxy-class medical deck for Perpetual Entertainment’s Star Trek Online.
Probert sketched out an entire Medical and Sciences Deck with laboratories, offices and a mortuary. Visit his website to see all the images.
Some of Probert’s sketches were brought to live by Gareth John Williams. Some of his artwork is reproduced here.
Sources for this story include: Andrew Probert, “Perpetual Entertainment,” Probert Designs, and Rick Sternbach, Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints (1996)