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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

May 14, 2020

Voyager’s “Critical Care” and the current global pandemic.

A healthcare system struggling with inadequate resources. Patients dying, untreated, as politicians and administrators grapple with a humanitarian crisis. In some ways, the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Critical Care” seems eerily prescient. Originally intended as classic Trek-style social commentary on the health maintenance organizations that exercise a vise-like grip on the US healthcare system, this dystopian parable has been interpreted as a swipe at numerous other medical models around the globe, including the “socialized” healthcare provided in the UK and continental Europe.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, recorded during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to look at some of the parallels between this 20-year-old Voyager episode and the current global pandemic. We focus in particular on its critique of the US healthcare model and consider how our own health service in the UK—the NHS—is coping during the most challenging time in its history.

Intro (00:00:00)
The NHS (00:07:09)
Getting Critical (00:09:15)
Sicko (00:34:45)
Intensive Care (01:03:03)
Classic Trek-Style Social Commentary (01:29:00)
Final Thoughts (01:35:44)

Duncan Barrett

Clara Cook

Duncan Barrett (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Clara Cook (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)