A tracheotomy is an emergency medical procedure used on humanoids who have an obstruction in their throat that prevents breathing.


In this procedure, an incision is made about an inch below the cricoid cartilage in the patient's trachea. (TOS novel: Planet of Judgment)

On Earth, the procedure had been used for millennia. The modern surgical procedure was codified by Chevalier Jackson in the 20th century. (TOS - Crucible novel: Provenance of Shadows)


In 1931, in a timeline created when Leonard McCoy saved the life of Edith Keeler, McCoy saved the life of Danny Johnson in Hayden, South Carolina by performing a tracheotomy. Unfortunately this revealed his medical expertise. When Doctor William Lyles inquired where McCoy earned his credentials, McCoy realized that he couldn't cite the University of Mississippi because its School of Medicine hadn't been founded yet. (TOS - Crucible novel: Provenance of Shadows)

McCoy's first combat casualty occurred during a scouting mission on a planet, when a Klingon attack severely injured a nearby lieutenant. McCoy tried to give him a tracheotomy to help him breathe, but he died before the procedure was completed. (TOS - Tales of the Dominion War short story: "Safe Harbors")

In 2269, McCoy performed a tracheotomy on Huff, a security guard who had been shot in the throat with an arrow by a tribe of young Arivne on the planet Anomaly. When an electronic scalpel failed to activate, McCoy had no choice but to use a vibroknife covered with dirt and tree sap. He asked Nurse Christine Chapel to clamp the carotid artery, and then Huff was put on a stretcher for immediate surgery. (TOS novel: Planet of Judgment)

A tracheotomy aboard the USS Enterprise-B saved the life of Ensign Hawkins Young. Engineer Galatea Kostas performed the procedure, thanks to having taken some Starfleet Academy basic medical classes along with training in sickbay. (TLE novel: One Constant Star)

In 2367 in the mirror universe, after Wesley Crusher tried to stab Jean-Luc Picard, an injury to Picard's neck was treated in sickbay by Beverly Crusher. She commented that the wound would have looked like an amateur tracheotomy had it cut deeper. She repaired the damage with a protoplaser. (TNG novel: Dark Mirror)

In 2375, McCoy related the experience of his first combat casualty, including the tracheotomy, to Commander Julia Rivera during a combat situation. (TOS - Tales of the Dominion War short story: "Safe Harbors")




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