Been rewatching some of the show, and I noticed that on several occasions, when Data is feeling out of sorts, he reports to sick bay to be treated by Dr. Crusher. (Examples: Season 5's "The Game", Season 7's "Thine Own Self") What I don't understand is why he wouldn't go to engineering instead? Surely LaForge is more qualified than Crusher to be treating an android? But in many of these cases, Geordi isn't even in the room.

I can't imagine android repair was covered in Starfleet medical school, since at the time she went there, there were no androids. Data is first seen in the pilot, and it's implied that he's relatively new to Starfleet, while Crusher is old enough that she's probably had her medical degree for some time prior to that. Since then only a handful of other androids have ever been seen (Data was the only one known to exist for a while), so this wouldn't be the kind of thing that's commonly taught even to engineers, let alone medical doctors.

Indeed, on many other occasions, Geordi has been the go-to guy for Data-repairs, and may by now be second only to Dr. Soong himself (and possibly Lore?) in terms of knowledge of how androids tick. You'd think that would always be the first choice any time Data is in need of service, rather than sick bay.

  • 3
    As of Redemption II (S5E1) Data had served in Starfleet for 26 years.
    – PeterL
    Apr 1, 2014 at 22:51
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    I would point out that sick bay might well be the place with the greatest number of analytical equipment designed to analyze a humanoid-size creature, staffed 24 hours by trained personnel. That isn't to say that engineering hasn't the capability, but might not be able to scramble a team with such capabilities as quickly.
    – Broklynite
    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:10
  • I dont think this questions been answered successfully: I agree that sickbay is the best place to analysis a humanoid even if its an android but why is crusher doing it, she might do the semi-organic parts like skin, hair and nails but those are largely cosmetic. But someone from engineering should be doing any repair work (but agreed in sickbay)
    – Matt
    Aug 7, 2016 at 15:22

4 Answers 4


In "The Game", Data is lured into Sickbay by Beverly Crusher who's under the influence of an alien device. She disables him for most of the remainder of the episode until he's revived by Wesley Crusher.

Please note that I've abridged the script;

BEVERLY'S COM VOICE : Do you have a minute to join me in sickbay?

DATA : Yes, Doctor. I am on my way.

INT. SICKBAY - Beverly is working at a medical station. Data ENTERS.

DATA : You wanted to see me, Doctor?

BEVERLY : Yes, Data. I need your help with something.

Beverly stops close behind him. Without warning, Beverly reaches for Data's back and DEACTIVATES him. Data instantly slumps onto the console, unconscious.

In Thine Own Self Data wakes up in Sickbay after having inadvertantly exposed natives of the planet to radiation and causing a sickness.

GIA: They killed him because they were afraid of him, but he saved all of us from the sickness.

CRUSHER: The sickness?

GIA: There were these pieces of metal. They made everyone sick. But Jayden put something in the water and now everyone's better.

RIKER: What happened to these pieces of metal?

GIA: We buried them in the forest. What was his real name?

RIKER: Data.

GIA: Data. He was my friend, too.

(Gia leaves and Beverly gets her tricorder out)

CRUSHER: It's Data all right. He's buried about two metres down. He's been deactivated so I can't tell how bad the damage is.

RIKER: We could beam him and the probe fragments right onto the ship. No one would know.

[Interior Sickbay]

CRUSHER: Positronic net online. Subprocessor relays in place and neuroelectrical systems enabled. (she switches him on and he instantly sits up)

CRUSHER: Data, are you all right?

DATA: I do not know. I am surprised to find myself here. I thought I was on Barkon Four.

Although it's mere supposition on my part, I'm assuming that the standard procedure regarding beaming someone (even Data) who's been subject to an alien illness would be to beam them to sickbay rather than engineering.

Also, she seems pretty switched on (pardon the pun) about Data's systems, correctly diagnosing that his brain is functioning.

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    Later in the episode, however, Crusher explains: (lying of course) "He came in to complain about a servo malfunction. My scans were coming out negative. And then he just... collapsed." So that should've been a red flag but nobody noticed or thought it unusual. Also still doesn't explain the other example I gave - he was speared through the back by an angry villager, and still it was Beverly in sick bay who seemed to be doing the repairs rather than Geordi. Jan 5, 2014 at 20:01
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    Are there special force fields for sickbay that screen out biological micro-organisms?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 5, 2014 at 20:05
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    @ Darrel Hoffman - We know that his skin shares many of the same properties as real skin. Maybe the repairs were superficial and simply needed the dermal regenerator she used in DataLore; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/36295/…
    – Valorum
    Jan 5, 2014 at 20:06
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    @ Pureferret - Yes, Sickbay supposedly has a "quarantine field"; en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Quarantine_field
    – Valorum
    Jan 5, 2014 at 20:07
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    I get that they'd beam him into quarantine for safety reasons (though they've previously established that most dangerous microbes can be filtered out by the transporter itself, but whatever.) Still doesn't explain why Beverly, and not Geordi is the one doing the treatment. Geordi isn't even in the room for that scene. Seems like a bit of an oversight. Jan 5, 2014 at 20:39

Not a canon answer, but this is a military vessel. There's a protocol. If you are a crew member and you're sick, you report to sick bay.

What do you mean "nuances"? It's Procedure!

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    That's actually the essence of my answer. As soon as someone says the word 'sick' or 'sickness', sickbay get lumped sorting out the problem. In Alien, Ripley has the same issue with Ash breaking the "quarantine protocol"
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2014 at 0:29
  • Well, the androids in the Alien franchise are partially organic, if I recall, whereas Data is purely mechanical. You'd think for practical reasons they'd make an exception for Data. I mean, it's enough that she's able to treat all manner of diverse alien species, but I still think androids should be outside of her area of expertise... Jan 6, 2014 at 3:19
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    Are you saying Data has deal with Tricare bureaucracy to get medical care? My reaction to the question was the same as yours, Data does things "by the book" since Starfleet is a military organization.
    – jfrankcarr
    Jan 6, 2014 at 4:08

Although Data is a machine, he is shaped like a humanoid. And sickbay is full of equipment that is designed for humanoids. If he went to engineering, would he have to lay on the floor, or would he climb up on a table? Sickbay has beds and magnifying monitors, and any specialized tools that are needed to work on Data can just as easily be kept in sickbay as they could in engineering. Although Dr. Crusher is not an engineer, she is a scientist, a quick study, and good with her hands. And she can (and often does) call in Geordi if she needs assistance.


Maybe she's the most qualified because since he's suppose to replicate a human, his systems are more biologically related than technically related. It seems to make more sense to base a neural net off of a human brain, rather than a computer.

  • 1
    Is there a quote or something to back this up?
    – AJL
    Oct 8, 2015 at 10:16
  • Naked Now: Data is "Fully Functional"
    – user001
    Oct 8, 2015 at 11:14
  • User001 is correct, in naked now (and in inheritance) it's not only implied, but stated that he is anatomically correct. Furthermore, there are a few sparse quotes that usually deal with data's neural net that implicated that it works in a similar way to that of a human brain (when he was talking about wanting to commit suicide after he woke up and was having a cascade failure crisis, he described it as it being harder for his neural pathways to form, as more and more were added to his "brain".).
    – user54108
    Oct 8, 2015 at 13:57

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