Working in medicine, I'm surrounded by medical advancements that would make my grandparents drop their jaws in amazement. Reversing heart attacks and strokes? Replacing non-working joints and organs? Pretty cool stuff, not to mention life saving.
But one thing I had to do when writing CONTROL, my YA novel set in 2150, was decide what medical advancements occurred.
So without being too spoileriffic, I'll talk about a few things I made up for the setting of CONTROL. There is a scene in the hospital, and lots of action (meaning, people get hurt and need medical care afterwards). First, I started with what's wrong with medical care today. From there, I imagined what futuristic medical care would be like.
1. The physical exam.
I know, I know. I'll get yelled at this from my colleagues and my teachers, but the physical exam can be notoriously inaccurate. People are better and worse than others at listening to heart rhythms with a stethoscope, for example. So there's something called a cardioscope--a handheld, oval device that does all the thinking for you. Kind of like an echocardiogram (a heart ultrasound) plus a EKG/holter monitor (rhythm analysis) and cardiac catheterization (heart vessel analysis) but in a handy pocket device. It's only in one scene, but it's a pivotal object.
Again! I'm kind of killing my own day job here, but there could conceivably be a future where doctors are replaced by computer programs skilled and nuanced enough to take the place of a complicated, human doctor's brain. These are called CompuDocs in CONTROL, but alas. They are WAY expensive, so the human doctor is still in demand, especially by the poor.
3. The medical record
Except at the Veterans Administration, the medical record is not really universal in the U.S. If you get your care in one place, another hospital won't have access to that first place unless requesting records. In the future, your bank records, social history, medical records, and prison records are all centralized and accessible with your finger-tip ID (a combination of your blood vessel pattern and fingerprint).
Okay, there are lots of other medical things that I changed for the future in CONTROL, but these are just a few. I kind of wish I could visit the future and see some of this stuff in person!
What do you wish was changed in the future?
Lydia Kang is a writer, part-time doctor, and salt-addicted gal with a near-pathological need to doodle. Her YA sci-fi book, CONTROL, is coming December 2013 (Dial/Penguin).