On the planet the Dinaali, in the 24th century – there’s a computer referred to as “the Allocator” which is responsible for automating the highly burdened medical system there.
Patients are categorized into three levels based on a TC, otherwise known as a Treatment Coefficient, With WHITE being assigned for patients which have found themselves deceased, RED is reserved for patients with a low TC score, and BLUE is reserved for patients with high TC scores.
Patients with high TC scores are generally society’s more productive or higher profile contributors, administrators, prominent scientists, engineers – these are the types who find themselves in the BLUE medical unit should they be in need of medical care.
The BLUE medical unit being MUCH cleaner, and much better care with a wider array of medical treatments made available to the patient.
Sometime in the year 2377, the USS Voyager serving in the Delta Quadrant provided medical treatment to GAR, a Dralian con artist who steals the Holographic Medical Doctor from the USS Voyager’s medical bay, replaces it with a hollowed out shell, and when he’s released he proceeds to trade it to the administrator of the medical facility on Dinaali.
The Doctor, who has some degree of sentience, is trapped in his servitude, and unable to contact Voyager to provide his location, so he reluctantly agrees to follow the Hippocratic Oath and help the patients within the facility.
He soon learns the lack of resources available to the RED unit is causing the unnecessary deaths of many patients, and soon after he’s assigned to the BLUE unit where he has an abundancy of resources which he immediately begins diverting to the BLUE unit.
This presents the collective conflict that I found to be interesting.
On one hand, when he’s discovered by the medical facility’s administrator, he protests to the doctor that he is in charge of saving a society.
And he has a point. It’s the artisans, the engineers, the leaders and the inspirers who are typically regarded as the creators of culture and the very society that he’s promised to protect.
So he does what he thinks is best as an administrator, where he provides the highest level of care to the patients who create and maintain the society to begin with.
But there’s an opposing view to this collective thought process.
And that’s the view of Voyager’s EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram) – who has been brought to this facility to do what he’s been programmed is for the best.
His perspective is simple. You allocate all resources based on need, and treat all patients equal and you do not discriminate.
So here’s a theoretical moral dilemma.
You have two patients.
One is a prominent lawyer in his prime, the other one a child of twelve years old from a lower income family of miners. BOTH arrived at the same time, both need a curative agent you have that will eliminate a fatal disease, but you only have one cure.
Which individual do you use it on?
Now with the administrator’s framework, the decision would be clear. The prominent lawyer would receive treatment.
But the EMH’s approach wouldn’t be as straighforward. Would it be based on life expectancy and how much livable life was left? If so,then the child would get preference. Would it be based on probability of the cure working? If all things were considered equal, this method wouldn’t work.
Herein lies a fundamental conflict between collective prioritization when leading by numbers versus prioritization based on societal values and the goals of the society.
Eventually, when leading strictly by numbers, the erosion of the society and relevant is highly predictable and inevitable.
But does leading by the perceived needs of society cause a similar erosion?
I’m not inclined to believe so.
I feel a strong culture attracts workers and those who want to maintain that culture. Sure, the benefits that are provided to the lower class may not be as great as those provided to the upper class.
But that’s ok.
And what the EMH did in the end demonstrates the fundamental problem with a leading by the numbers approach.
He kidnaps the administrator and then alters his DNA so the Allocator places him in the RED ward, and then he poisons him with a poison that isn’t available to those in the RED ward.
He resorts to violence.
TO reinforce his philosophy that all cures be distributed evenly.
Without a personal desire, without expectations of society and the world around you, you may be obeying the Hippocratic oath, but that oath is meaningless when you don’t have goals of your own and a desire for where you want society to go.
In a sense.
He is killing the collective in an effort to find his individuality.
When he doesn’t understand.
His individuality is in the alignment with what he wants of the world.