Melinda wrote a blog talking about her fall from a ladder, and the injuries she sustained as a result. She talked a little about bacta and its uses. You can read her blog here. It got me thinking about the medical system and how it relates to more permanent illnesses or injuries. What follows is some speculation and thoughts on this topic.
Let me talk a little about Bacta. This is part of the entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia:
“The most common and effective healing salve employed in the galaxy. Gelatinous, translucent red alazhi and kavam bacterial particles were suspended in a lotion that had been used for thousands of years by the Vratix to heal cuts. The particles were mixed with the colorless liquid ambori. The resulting synthetic chemical–bacta–was thought to mimic the body’s own vital fluids and was used to treat and heal all but the most serious of wounds. Patients were fully immersed (with breath masks) in the expensive liquid, which was held in cylindrical rejuvenation tanks (bacta tanks). The bacterial particles sought out wounds and promoted amazingly quick tissue growth without scarring. The popularity of bacta led to its replacing kolto as the predominant healing solution.” 1
The only instance we see bacta in use in the movies is during Luke’s recovery in “ESB.” There are numerous instances in “The Clone Wars” and the novels where bacta is mentioned but those are during wartime, and bacta is used primarily for the soldiers. During peacetime, how did normal citizens get access to it, and for how was it paid? Was bacta able to heal chronic illnesses, or were there other methods?
If someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as kidney disease, or liver failure, or a variety of other conditions, would the patient’s doctor prescribe a series of bacta treatments, or would they have to prescribe a different treatment? Were there facilities that cleaned a patient’s blood? Or, was there the possibility of getting an organ transplant, and being able to live a normal life? I believe the answer to all these questions is “Yes,” but the type of treatment available depended greatly on where the patient lived. For instance, on the more developed planets like Coruscant or Alderaan, I feel that most of the treatments were available, but I think the treatments were ultra expensive, and only the wealthy elite had access to regular treatments. On the more primitive planets, like Tatooine or Geonosis, the treatments would only be available in the larger cities, like Mos Eisley. If the treatments were available, chances are the patient would have to travel a great distance, or move closer to the treatment facility. One might even have to travel offworld.
Then there is the issue of payment. We don’t know if there was any kind of insurance available. Employers might have offered insurance for the workers and their families, but at what cost? Was any portion of the treatments’ cost covered, or did it depend on the type of treatment or insurance? Maybe a government, be it planet-wide or limited to cities and their surrounding areas, offered a universal or government-run healthcare system that covered all kinds of treatments. Then there’s the travel costs, like food, lodging, or fuel. Were those covered?
You might be asking why I’m interested in the topic. Well, I have kidney failure and need regular dialysis treatments to clean my blood and remove excess fluid from my body. In order to live a better life, I need to have these treatments on a regular basis. There is the option of getting a kidney transplant, but that is expensive and requires an extensive amount of travel and recovery In addition to my kidney failure, there are some other minor health issues that might actually be fixed by bacta, but I would still need to pay for them, somehow.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment and tell me your own thoughts. Or if you like, you can send an e-mail to email@example.com I will be sure and reply. Remember, the Force will be with you, Always.
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1. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia by Steve Sansweet and Pablo Hidalgo; Copyright 2008 by Lucasfilm LtdPowered by Sidelines