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The biobed is a vital element of any StarFleet sickbay. Most starships are equipped with two models.

On the USS Voyager NCC-74656 for example, the sickbay is equipped with three standard biobeds and one primary biobed that has advanced diagnostic and surgical functions. The standard biobeds are arranged along the length of one wall; the primary biobed is located in a circular area next to the doctor's office.

All biobeds serve as examination tables, and are equipped with monitors and scanners. On average, a biobed is one meter wide and two meters long. It is raised to a height that permits the medical staff to work comfortably when giving examinations and performing other medical tasks. The bed can also incline to benefit the patient during certain procedures, such as pre-natal exams and child birth.

All biobeds are equipped with biosensor displays, which are mounted at the head of each unit. They are also equipped with clam shell arms, which can be extended from the side of the bed to cover a patient's midriff. These arms contain extremely high-resolution medical scanners and can provide detailed diagnostic information.

The biobeds' built-in sensors feed directly into the sickbay's medical computers; readouts are normally displayed on biobed monitor screens, but can be rerouted to medical console stations, the sickbay's main diagnostic display, or to medical tricorders.

The primary biobed is normally the first port of call for injured crewmen. It is used for initial diagnoses and routine examinations. Unlike the other biobeds, this unit is free standing and can be rotated through 360 degrees to allow medical staff to work in comfort; it also contains more monitors, consoles, and other medical equipment than the standard biobeds.

The primary biobed is effectively a self-contained medical lab and can be used to analyze parts of, or samples from, a life form, such as a Borg hand, or other organic objects such as bioneural gel packs.

The primary biobed also serves as the ships main surgical biobed. Suspended above it is a surgical unit that is equipped with lights, an array of biological sensors, and a forcefield generator. The primary biobed itself is equipped with unobtrusive biological scanners that continually monitor the patients physical condition.

The area around the primary biobed can be isolated by a forcefield, which is powerful enough to restrain a dangerous or violent patient. This allows infectious patients to be quarantined, and has proved invaluable during the treatment of hostile life forms.

This article comes from Star Trek Magazine, v. 1, i. 13.