For a ship that is supposed to carry a crew of 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” reveals there are three sickbay wards. “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. “Transfigurations” notably featured a separate biosupport unit and a physical rehabilitation bay. But — for budget reasons — no larger medical set was built.
“Remember Me” places sickbay on Deck 12. So does Rick Sternbach in the Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Blueprints. 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, designed 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.
Some of Probert’s designs were brought to live by Gareth John Williams. Two of his artworks are reproduced here.