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Emergency medical holo-gram, (EMH), played by Robert Picardo.
Holographic program available on some Federation starships, including the U.S.S. Voyager. Originally intended as a short-term supplement to medical personnel in emergency situations, Voyager's EMH manifested himself as a humanoid physician, and could treat virtually any injury or known disease, but could function only in areas equipped with holographic projectors. The Emergency Medical Hologram was developed at Starfleet's Jupiter Station and was designed by Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay was a member of Zimmer's development team, in charge of testing the EMH's interpersonal skills. The EMH program enabled holographic projectors not only to generate an image of a person, but also to create a magnetic containment field, within which electromagnetic energy was trapped, thereby giving the Doctor the ability to physically manipulate real objects such as patients and medical instruments. The Sovereign-class Starship Enterprise-E, launched in 2372, was also equipped with an Emergency Medical Hologram. Enterprise-E chief medical officer Beverly Crusher was not fond of the EMH program, although he proved useful in protecting the ship's medical staff during the Borg invasion on 2373. Zimmerman's team also worked to develop a more sophisticated version, called the Long-term Medical Hologram (LMH).
After the entire medical staff of the U.S.S. Voyager were killed in 2371 during the ship's rough passage to the Delta Quadrant, the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram became the only source of medical treatment for the crew.
The Doctor was programmed with over five million possible treatments, with contingency options and adaptive programs utilising sophisticated multitronic pathway programming. He was programmed with information from 2,000 medical references and the experience of 47 physicians. The EMH program, which was first activated on stardate 48308, consisted of more than fifty million gigaquads of computer data and was equipped with the medical knowledge of more than three thousand cultures. His knowledge of medical treatments included those based on psychospiritual beliefs such as those employed by some of Earth's Native Americans. The EMH's programming was extremely sophisticated, permitting him to learn from new data and experiences, and even to be creative. Shortly after stardate 48532, when crew member Neelix's lungs were removed, the doctor saved Neelix's life by devising a method of creating a pair of holographic lungs, using the holographic emitters in sickbay. The EMH was defintely capable of independent thought. In 2372, he refused a direct order to seperate Tuvix into Tuvok and Neelix. He did so because obeying the order would have required him to take a life, violating his doctor's oath to do no harm.
So sophisticated was the holographic doctor's program that he was a sentient life-form. He therefore found it frustrating when some members of the Voyager crew treated him as an inanimate computer program. Captain Janeway ordered that the EMH be given control over his own deactivation sequence, in order to avoid the indignity of his being deactivated by others. The Doctor's role as sole medical professional on the ship caused him to undergo significant growth as a sentient life-form. One of his early steps in this growth process was his search for a name for himself. Among the names he considered were Benjamin Spock and Jonas Salk. He also thought about Albert Schweitzer. Vidiian physician Danara Pel suggested Shmullus, after her beloved uncle. (In one possible future visited by Kes, the holographic doctor aboard the Voyager decided on the name Dr. Van Gogh, after being known as Dr, Mozart for a time.)
The doctor was not programmed to bleed or to feel pain. When activated, the Emergency Medical Hologram established communication links with all key areas of the Starship Voyager. He sometimes used this ability to surreptitiously listen to conversations throughout the ship, until Captain Janeway ordered him to refrain from eavesdropping. The Doctor was sensitive to criticisms that, as a synthetic life-form, he would have difficulties empathizing with the suffering of an organic patient. In order to address this potential weakness, he once programmed himself with a holographic simulation of the 29-hour Levodian flu so that he could experience the disease process. His programming did not include the ability to cry.
The EMH undertook his first away mission on stardate 48693. He was dispatched to the ship's holodeck to investigate the disappearance of three Voyager crew members. He was successful in interacting with a photonic being that had taken up residence on the holodeck and in gaining the return of the missing crew. His actions during this first contact mission gained him a special commendation from Voyager Captain Janeway. On stardate 48892, a surge of kinoplastic radiation caused a malfunction in Voyager's holodeck circuits, trapping the Doctor in a delusional reality in which he briefly believed he was a real person named Lewis Zimmerman. In this fantasy, the Doctor imagined he was married to a human woman named Kes Zimmerman. In 2372, he fell in love with Vidiian Danara Pel.
The holographic doctor was designed as a short-term supplement for medical personnel, not to be active for more than 1,500 hours. By stardate 50252.3, this limit had been greatly exceeded, and the EMH suffered level-4 memory fragmentation, resulting in rapid deterioration of program function. Rather than reinitialize the EMH, which would have caused him to forget everything he had learned, including growth of personality, the Voyager crew instead decided to merge the EMH's program matrix with that of the Jupiter Station EMH diagnostic program. The matrix overlay process worked to maintain the integrity of the EMH, but his memory was not fully restored. When the Voyager visited Earth's past of 1996, Henry Starling fitted the EMH with an autonomous holo-emitter. When the Voyager's crew returned to their own time period, the doctor retained the holo-emitter, which gave him the ability to operate outside of sickbay, even in areas without holographic emitters.
In 2373, the Emergency Medical Hologram created a personality-improvement holographic program that incorporated several historic characters' personalities into his subroutines. Unfortunately, the unsavory side of these characters influenced the EMH, creating an alternate doctor, until B'Elanna Torres purged the personalities from his memory.
Around stardate 50832, the Doctor decided to further enhance his intersocial skills by creating a holographic family, with which he could interact. In particular he wished to understand the effects of family life on behavior. The first attempt proved to be a failure following comments from B'Elanna Torres that the family the Doctor had created had no flaws and such would not help in his understanding of family behavior. The Doctor later allowed Torres to alter the parameters of the program to simulate a normal family. The new program profoundly affected the Doctor's learning process when the EMH was forced to face the death of his holographic daughter following a serious head injury.
On stardate 51003, the Doctor succeeded in altering Borg nanoprobes to attack and destroy the alien tissue of Species 8472. With the nanoprobes he was able to restore Ensign Kim following his attack from Species 8472 which left him near death.