Hospital ships or medical ships (occasionally mercy ships and mobile hospitals) were a type of starship used by Federation, allied and threat forces. Not always purpose-built from the keel up, they were tasked with serving as emergency medical care outside the capacity of any one starship's sickbay. Hospital ships were stationed near the front lines of military engagements, and also accompanied missions of evacuation or colonial resettlement.
As was the case with science scouts and survey vessels, such ships were often lightly armed (usually only with phasers). They were often accompanied by at least one escort vessel, a destroyer or frigate, especially during wartime. (Kitbashed Starships: USS Hope (NCC-H235); Star Trek: Shadowstar Station: "Rescue the Perishing")
- Kitbashed Starships does not specify the class of the escort vessel(s), but "Rescue the Perishing" does.
In May of 2156, during the Earth-Romulan War, the United Earth hospital ship Nightingale (MED-6) was destroyed by two Romulan vessels in Sector 2 near the Alpha Centauri system. (The Romulan War: The Romulan War (Part 1), "Nightingale")
In the Federation Starfleet, classes of hospital ships ranged in size from those based on Gagarin-class, Surya-class and Avenger-class spaceframes up to dedicated transport pods attached to Ptolemy-class transport/tugs. An example of the latter was the Nightingale, which was attached to the USS Lagrange in the 2280s. (Starfleet International: Starfleet Communiqué, May 1985)
- Hope is a common name for medical ships. It seems likely that the various Starfleet hospital ships with that name are not in the same continuity.
While en route to Starbase 36 in 2256, the medical frigate USS Hiawatha -- believed to have been destroyed by Klingon forces during the Federation-Klingon War -- had instead crashed on the surface of an interstellar asteroid. It was discovered more than ten months later by the USS Discovery. (DIS: "Brother", "Far From Home")
The Salk-class hospital ships, five in all, were in service during the mid-23rd century. (USS Fleitas NCC-H1965 Salk Class Mk-XV-A Hospital Ship)
Beginning in 2259, the Hope-class ships entered service. There were eleven vessels in all; surviving vessels of this class were refitted with linear warp drive in 2280. (Orion Press: Orion Press Lexicon 2008: Appendix I)
There were eight Consolation-class mobile hospitals built, beginning in 2263, but only the lead ship -- USS Consolation -- was in Starfleet. The remaining seven were in the Active Reserves, which is why they held NAR registries. (Star Fleet Starship Recognition Manual: Vol. 2: Ships of Support 2268)
- Star Trek: Shadowstar Station continuity added two more vessels to this class, both active in Starfleet.
During the Organian Conflict, two Klingon battlecruisers destroyed a Starfleet hospital ship in the Kalinora Sector, claiming it was on an intelligence-gathering mission. One of the passengers killed was the wife of Captain Androvar Drake. (TOS novel: The Ashes of Eden)
The Federation hospital ship Haven, commanded by Commodore Gerald Spencer, crashed into a drydock in Earth orbit and destroyed both itself and the dock in 2273. Among the casualties was Nyota Uhura's brother Shani, a physician assigned to the Haven. (Orion Press: "The Guilt Complex")
The Interstellar Concordium, in addition to fielding hospital ships, also fielded psychiatric hospital ships and the former type. Also, the Presidium-class super-dreadnought Averment was refitted as a psychiatric hospital ship somewhere in the early 24th century. (RIS Bouteina: "The Day Where Students Have Stopped Calculating")
There was at least one Pierce-class hospital ship, the USS Honeycutt (NCC-4077). (Yotsuya's Shipyard)
- The era can be deduced from the Ambassador-era warp nacelles on the ship.
M'Benga-class (FASA RPG: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual) and Olympic-class starships (TNG: "All Good Things...") were hospital ships on active duty in Starfleet during the late 24th century.
The Lyrans didn't have purpose-built hospital ships; when they needed frontline hospitals, they just chucked temporary sickbays into a ship that was somewhat less armed than other warships. (RIS Bouteina: "Broken Bread")
By the 25th century, the Lyran Starfleet finally fielded hospital ships, normally commanded by non-Lyrans, because Lyrans usually not thought much about these ships, as commanding a hospital ship (the Enterprise in particular) was considered the most undesirable posting of all among Lyrans in the Lyran Starfleet. (Star Trek: The Stoneship Files: "Highly Illogical")
Both Federation Starfleet and Lyran Starfleet granted priority to hospital ships for posting, and only starbases superseded hospital ships in the order of medical precedence for healthcare professionals that weren't physicians, counselors or nurses. As a result, the only ship in either Federation or Lyran Starfleet that wasn't a hospital ship that included the full range of medical professionals was the USS Enterprise-F. (Star Trek: False Vacuum: "Wagon Train to the Stars")
Hospital ship classes
- Byrne-class (Federation Spaceflight Chronology, vol. 8)
- Consolation-class (Romulan Encyclopedia)
- Hippocrates-class (LUG)
- Hippocrates-class (Starfleet Dynamics)
- Hippocrates-class (24th century)
- Hope class (Orion Press)
- Hopkins-class (Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology; Federation Spaceflight Chronology, vol. 8)
- Miranda-class (Star Fleet Battles)
- Naucrate class (Hospital Ship Marie Curie)
- Pierce class
- Salk class
- Stoneship-class (early units)
- Hospital ship article at Memory Alpha, the canon Star Trek wiki.
- Yotsuya's Shipyard, including the Pierce-class USS Honeycutt NCC-4077
- The Mighty Mednoughts