- establishing an initial infrastructure on the Moon -


The first medical hab will probably be a multi-purpose medical hab with rooms for emergencies, ICU, surgery, dental, as well as non-emergent consultations. But as more medical specialty habs are set up, this multi-purpose hab could be converted into outpatient consultation rooms no requiring emergency equipment.

Ideally, people with certain special skills would be pushed to the front of the line of settlers so that we have all of the specialty skills before they are needed. For the medical field, those providers who can handle emergency situations should go first. This includes dental emergencies. Later, providers of unrepresented specialties would go next.

There are a number of cases where an ICU might be necessary. In particular, if a resident of the base has an accident when in a space suit, they may suffer severe pulmonary injury. Or for that matter, any serious injury (such as a crash) could require a settler to need ICU care. But also, people may develop some conditions that are unexpected with extended living in a different gravitational environment. For example, on the ISS, one astronaut actually developed a blood clot in a vein in the neck. Will such conditions develop in older, unhealthy, private settlers. Time will tell.

Surgical facilities will be among the first medical need. There are a number of emergency situations needing surgery that can't wait the three day travel time back to Earth. So, with the first multi-purpose ClinicHab, there will be a sealed off section equipped to conduct surgeries. This is not as farfetched as it might seem. There are companies right now that sell inflatable operating rooms for deployment in disaster zones and in areas where the military are working. One would think that, with some gravity, the movement of blood would be similar to that on Earth. So there will probably be little need for new surgical approaches to be developed.

There will be a need for dental interventions from the get-go. Whereas all people moving off Earth will need to be dentally screened and, whereas routine dental screening of the residents can help prevent the worsening of cavities and tooth abscesses, some dental care will always be needed. As the later private settlers arrive with their existing medical and dental conditions, dental procedures will become more routine. As with almost everything else, the dentist will come from the international and private settlers who will have paid their way to the base.

There will be a need for a pharmacy especially as the later private settlers with their health conditions arise. Medications are of such low mass and often difficult to produce on a small scale it would make most sense to just ship the meds to the base. There will be the need for an extensive research program to see what difference the effect is of medications when the body is under different a different gravitational environment with different fluid distributions throughout the body.

The Hospital
Eventually, as the base population grows, a very large hospital with all that that entails would be established.

One of the last medical habs to be developed would be the BabyHab. This is where people would go to give birth. Obviously, we wouldn't want to do this if there was any risk to the baby either during pregnancy or when growing up. This would have to wait until after a series of animal studies was completed to determine the artificial gravity prescription for healthy gestation or childhood. Until those studies gave the go-ahead for off-Earth pregnancy & childhood, pregnant women would need to be sent back to Earth to complete their pregnancy and the children may need to grow up on Earth instead of the Moon or Mars. But only the studies will tell for sure.

Next: Community Habs