Handwavium and medical technology

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When people discuss the relationship between handwavium and medicine, they're usually discussing the relationship between biomods and medical techniques. This relationship is difficult and complex.

Biomodification as a one-time-only medical procedure

If you're dying slowly, and you are not currently biomodded, and you manage to ingest some handwavium, you're almost certain to wind up as something that isn't dying slowly. This is pretty significant. Just about any doctor worthy of the name who lives in a 'wave-friendly society is going to keep a supply of the stuff on hand, in the bio-friendliest strain he can find.

Biomods as medical protection

Some biomods deal with some medical problems all by themselves. If your biomod makes you naturally regrow limbs and damaged organs, then there's certain branches of medical science that you just don't have to worry about.

Biomods as medical complications

Fenspace doctors simply cannot be prepared in the same way that normal doctors are. If your blood is now copper-based, there's no way that they'll have your blood type in the freezers unless you yourself put it there. (However, Blood Oranges help to mitigate this lack.) If you no longer have the same organs in the same places doing the same things, their ability to come up with a diagnosis will be hampered, and their ability to perform surgery productively (if that's what's called for, and they figure it out in time) will be basically shot all to hell.

Medical wavetech

If a given medical establishment happens to have a device labeled "solve problem 'foo' just because - play Barry Manilow for at least 1 hour per 24" then that particular problem isn't a problem, so long as the stereo holds out. At least, if that's the correct label. Thankfully, wavetech devices tend to work with biomods quite well. This can help a rather lot on the previous issue, depending on the equipment in question, but never gets rid of it entirely. Also thankfully, "keep random lifeform alive and reasonably stable" is something that handwaved equipment does pretty well, so once you've got them in the medical center, you generally have some time to scratch your head and be confused while you're trying to figure out what to do next - so long as you don't run out of beds.

Mundane medical technology

The amount of daneside wealth flowing into Fenspace is pretty low, given the population. (Unless you're with Rockhounds, Hephaestus, or one of the other mining consortiums, who basically seized control of the metals market, or with Stellvia Corporation or another company that does major business with the 'danelaw.) This means that the amount that flows into the medical community and can be used for things like Extremely Pricey Medical Devices (or prescription medication) is also pretty low. A lot of the things that the daneside medical community takes for granted aren't necessarily available, and most of the sorts of things that you'd normally send patients to another hospital for, or send for from another hospital, are entirely absent.

The Nikaido Foundation is working on remedying this... but they're a small charity and there are a lot of places that need this equipment.

Space is big

Remarkable percentages of the fenspace population live in tiny enclaves that are pretty far away from everybody. Folks die out in space and no one knows about it until later. Handwavium can stabilize you pretty effectively if they get you to a care center, but they have to get you there first. By the same token, with the percentage of biomods out there, and the fact that so many of the fatal accidents happen far away from home, organ donation in space is really pretty rare - and you can forget about pulling something up out of the gravity well. You might be able to keep someone stable on a trip back into the gravity well for a transplant, but you might not. Most unmodded patients who would normally get a heart transplant or a lung transplant or whatever back daneside take the guacamole instead. For the biomods, well, the chance of something going Terribly Wrong is usually too high to risk a transplant anyway - if you're lucky, your mod will save you.

In short...

All of this means that it's probably pretty common for people with dangerous jobs out space-side to stay deliberately unmodded - with almost the same degree of paranoia that they use on their environmental seals - and keep a slug of guacamole in their suit, just in case. If they come out of it with a mod that doesn't seriously improve their survivability by itself? Well, that's just God's little way of telling you that it's time to find some other line of work. Likewise, most of the people who are actually in the medical community who find out about the effects of biomods through some means other than personal experience will probably be keeping themselves clean, just in case - and urging their friends and family to do the same.

In response...

The Banzai Institute, particularly, is concerned with the medical implications of 'wavium. There are a respectable number of 'dane doctors on the Global Frequency. At least two medical personnel working directly for the Institute, the senior of which is married to BBI #1138 "Sensei" who serves as the CIO of the organization and works out of the American headquarters. Guacamole is considered by the Institute one of the major issues that the 'danes have with 'wavium, and it has priority as a research subject.

'Wave-positive dirtside areas get much of the best of both worlds on the medical side of things; the best-known example is the Leonard H. McCoy Memorial Medical Center in Hobart, Tasmania. This has some interesting implications in terms of people hopping on planes to go get medical attention... but is something that Fenspace feels the 'danelaw should resolve.