The sad part is that I see more escorts healing cruisers than the other way around. I am one of the few Odysseys that will throw my heals to an escort regardless of how well I am doing. I have 5 share-able heals, usually which I give away in a heartbeat to someone else. If more cruisers actually gave their heals to escorts, you would see fewer escorts dying, and fewer of these threads coming up.
The one godsend is that plasma torps are slow. Not just the heavies, but the regular ones. More often than not, these insta kills are actually survive first hit, but plasma levels you in seconds. The way to counter that as a cruiser is you watch the torp, and right as it hits, you activate your HE, which will heal your target and kill the burn. Something else i like to do is I use Aux2SIF3 on a ship about to get hit, usually with maxed aux, since it gives a nice kinetic resist bonus. Then I shoot them an ET3 and HE1 and tell them to get the hell out of dodge. Works pretty well if they listen.
We really do need more of this type of play across the board. When I team with people I know for PvP's, this is second nature. People get healed by teammates within a second of taking focus fire from 5 members of the other team, and they stay alive. I promise you getting focus fired on my 5 real life players will kill you faster than a Borg cube can. If we can keep people alive through that, then y'all should be able to keep each other alive through the high damage borg hits. It just takes team work and fast reactions, both of which come with practice.
It's a good idea to drag your teammates' portraits closer to the center of the screen on the HUD so you don't have to shift your vision/attention all the way over to the edge of the screen to see when they need heals. Then use the Function keys (F2 through F5) to select the portrait that you see taking damage to send them a heal or two.