Re-Used Props - Medical Instruments
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Many props of Star Trek were later modified or even recycled without changes to represent equipment for a different purpose or of another civilization. Here are quite a few examples of medical instruments. Please note that every statement made here should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no need to seek for explanations. Certainly we are not supposed to watch closely enough to notice that Beverly's instruments occasionally show up in engineering.
Engineering scanner & anabolic protoplaser
This tool appeared as an engineering scanner in TOS: "Charlie X", then Kirk held it in "What are Little Girl Made of?", and finally it became a medical scanner (an anabolic protoplaser according to the Star Fleet Technical Manual) in "Space Seed". The protoplaser consistently shows up in sickbay from now. It can also be seen in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" when Dr. Chapel treats Spock.
Forcefield generator & medical instrument
The prop shown as Kivas Fajo's forcefield generator in TNG: "The Most Toys" has gone through quite a remarkable development. It was used as a medical instrument in a couple of later TNG episodes, each time in a slightly different role. Dr. Crusher used it to heal a torn ligament in TNG: "Conundrum". In TNG: "Starship Mine" she treated Picard's "nasty little cut" with it, but the patient didn't keep still. The treatment of Guinan with the device was most likely simulated, as was Guinan's tennis elbow in the first place. But regarding its previous appearances as a medical instrument it seemed like the right choice if it had been for real. In TNG: "Emergence" Beverly treated Deanna's small wound with the device. Only in TNG: "Ethics" the prop was used for a considerably different yet still medical purpose, to monitor a patient's condition.
A couple of years later we see the prop once again, this time in B'Elanna's hands as an engineering tool in VOY: "Dreadnought". The prop retains its role as an engineering tool and appears as a scanner in a couple of later Voyager episodes.
Medical scanner & stimulator
A Malcorian medical device from TNG: "First Contact" is later seen in Federation use in TNG: "Ethics", TNG: "Realm of Fear" (as a cardiostimulator) and VOY: "Alliances" (as a cortical stimulator).
Medical & metallurgical scanner
This prop has previously been used as a combination of a medical scanner and a dermal regenerator. But in TNG: "Phantasms" it serves to scan the structure of a knife blade.
Trill device & dermal regenerator
A strange gadget of the TNG-Trills in TNG: "The Host" will later appear as the familiar dermal regenerator on DS9. The screenplay says about the Trill device that Odan uses it to "feed" the yet unknown symbiont with light.
Medical instrument & laser torch
This is one more of several props that we may find in sickbay as well as in engineering. Dr. Crusher uses it as a laser scalpel and also as a dermal regenerator. The same prop can be found as a medical all-round instrument in Dr. Bashir's sickbay too. Here it acts as a medical scanner and also to open or to close wounds.
Although a laser torch as in DS9: "Destiny" may work in a similar fashion as a medical scalpel, we wouldn't really expect the device to be that diverse.
Restrictor & microgenerator
In TNG: "Liaisons" a prop is shown as a restriction device that "will hold the bones in place, will let them knit." Picard has three fractured ribs. The same device is used by the Kazon on their training ground. It creates a forcefield that traps Janeway and the away team on the planet while they are searching Chakotay and the young Kar. We can also see the little disk as a part of the door opener in the orbital tether cabin in "Rise".
Multifunctional medical headset
This segmented headset prop can be seen in so diversified functions that we can safely assume it must represent something different each time. It is meant to be an audio stimulator in DS9: "Babel"; when O'Brien begins to talk nonsense Bashir uses it to analyze his auditory sense. In DS9: "Duet" Bashir examines Aamin Marritza, who is suffering from the Kalla-Nohra Syndrome. In this test Bashir puts the device on Marritza's eyes. When the doctor lifts the scanner, Kira steps in and in a dramatic twist she recognizes the war criminal Gul Darhe'el, the man that Marritza pretends to be.
The headset also shows up in TNG: "Homeward", here obviously as a surgical instrument that transforms Worf's forehead into something Boraalan-looking. Finally we can see the prop in DS9: "Extreme Measures" as an engrammatic sensor. The prop was slightly modified for this purpose. New blinking add-ons were affixed to the two segments on either side of the central piece. The whole setup along with the computer is called a "multitronic engrammatic interpreter", while the scripts calls our prop just the "headset".
Medical device & holographic tool
In TNG: "Ship in a Bottle" Barclay uses a small tool to work on the holographic circuits, which was originally used by Doctors Crusher and Pulaski as a medical device in several earlier episodes.
Medical & engineering scanner
This prop consistently serves as a medical scanner during early DS9. In DS9: "The Quickening" it gains particular importance as a "microcellular" scanner. But then the prop must have been mislabeled or stored in the wrong drawer. At latest since DS9: "Dr. Bashir, I Presume" it repeatedly shows up in the hands of engineers. It was modified with a black grip for later episodes.
Finally, the tool shows up as an in-joke in PIC: "Stardust City Rag", in the "Red Bolian" holographic advertisement. It only has a somewhat longer handle, and (since this a cartoon anyway) it is not to scale with the Bolian.
Hypnosis device & drug dispenser
The hypnosis device used by Counselor Troi in TNG: "Lonely Among Us" later appeared as a drug dispenser in the DS9 episode "Honor Among Thieves".
Medical device & decoupler
The scanner used in the attempt to save Vedek Bareil's life in DS9: "Life Support" becomes a decoupler in DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong".
Blood gas infuser & Voth scanner
In a strange metamorphosis, the blood gas infuser helping to keep Neelix alive in VOY: "The Phage" becomes a multipurpose Voth scanner in VOY: "Distant Origin".
Medical instrument & flower shears
In VOY: "Lifesigns", the Doctor scans Danara Pel with a scissors-like instrument. In VOY: "Alliances", Tuvok doesn't mind using this tool to trim flowers.
Cortical & cardiac stimulators
We can see a round cortical stimulator on Chakotay's neck in VOY: "The Fight". The prop doesn't show up any more in the seventh season where we can see a smaller angular cortical stimulator on two occasions. This prop also appears in "Friendship One", here as a cardiac stimulator.
Neural stimulator & mind probe
This is another prop with an astonishing but at least partly plausible history. It can be seen for the first time in DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi" where it is used to "revive" the dead Vorta Keevan by stimulating his nervous system. Since the Ferengi found it in the sickbay of Empok Nor, we can assume that it is a Cardassian device. It is equipped with a red blinking light.
In DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" we can see the prop again. This time it is supposed to be a Romulan mind probe, used to access Dr. Bashir's memory. Actually, we learn about its name as late as in DS9: "Extreme Measures" where Dr. Bashir makes use of exactly such a device to enter Sloan's mind. The naming is anything but consistent here, the three variants are "Romulan memory scanner", "Romulan mind probe" and finally "Romulan mental probe". The only difference between these two episodes is that in "Inter Arma" the light is blue, whereas it is red in "Extreme Measures". Interestingly, the device shows up between these two episodes too when the injured General Martok is treated in DS9: "Tacking into the Wind". We certainly wouldn't expect that brain spying is a standard treatment by Federation physicians. ;-) And just for a change, the LED in the device is yellow here.
The felicium injector from TNG: "Symbiosis" was re-used on a different planet albeit for much the same purpose in VOY: "Favorite Son". This could be a valve of a combustion engine in real life.
The device used to measure doses of felicium (or a very similar device) was seen again in "Concerning Flight" where it served as a plasma injector conduit. In real life, this is most likely a pneumatic component, a clutch or a brake.
Romulan medical device & Sky Spirit translator
The Romulan medical device, seen on the temples of the Romulan defectors in TNG: "Face of the Enemy", later appears as a translation device used by the so-called Sky Spirits in VOY: "Tattoo".
Cardassian & Varro scanner
The same scanner shows up in the hand of the Cardassian hologram Crell Moset in VOY: "Nothing Human" and as a Varro device in VOY: "The Disease".
Cardassian hypospray & re-uses
A hypospray of Cardassian origin can be seen in DS9: "The Wire", in DS9: "The Darkness and the Light", in DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels" and in VOY: "Repression". The same device also appears in the Delta Quadrant in VOY: "Workforce II" and two centuries earlier as a Ferengi hypospray in ENT: "Acquisition". The prop was modified for each of the two latter appearances though.
Quarra dermal regenerator & more
This device appeared as a dermal regenerator of the Quarra in "Workforce II". In ENT: "Horizon" it was a human 22nd century scanner, in "Bounty" one of the Tellarites.
Tooth sharpeners seem to be important tools in the Ferengi culture, and Worf is visibly fond of them too. But the real usefulness of these little devices becomes obvious considering that they can as well be used for trimming your toe nails.
Thanks to Michael Minnick for some valuable hints.