Emergency Medical Hologram

From Academic Kids

This article refers generally to the fictional Star Trek technology, the Emergency Medical Hologram. For the character in Star Trek: Voyager, see The Doctor (Star Trek).

Missing image
The Mark I Emergency Medical Hologram, USS Voyager

In the Star Trek fictional universe, the Emergency Medical Hologram or EMH is a holographic program intended to support or replace medical personnel aboard a Starfleet vessel or installation in case of emergency. The EMH was most commonly seen on the series Star Trek: Voyager, as played by Robert Picardo. The program also made appearances on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

The EMH was created by Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, with assistance from Lt. Reginald Barclay. It possesses one of the Federation's most extensive medical databases, containing information from over 3,000 cultures and the personal experiences of 47 specific surgeons. The program itself is built on an adaptive heuristic matrix, pioneered by Dr. Zimmerman, which allows the EMH programs to learn and adapt quickly to new situations.

Four versions of the EMH series have been created to date, the Mark I, II, III and IV. While the status of the latter three incarnations is unknown, the Mark I programs, based on Dr. Zimmerman himself and possessing his short temper and numerous other character flaws, failed to live up to Starfleet expectations and were re-assigned to menial labour. Nicknames for the Mark I's include "Emergency Medical Hotheads" and "Extremely Marginal Housecalls".

The only Mark II to be seen was on the Voyager Episode "Message in a Bottle" aboard the USS Prometheus. The Mark II believed himself to be far superior to the Doctor, but the two had to work together to help retake the ship from Romulan captors. He is played by Andy Dick.

Only three Mark I's escaped the fate mentioned above. The EMH's of the USS Voyager and the USS Equinox, both of which were stranded in the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. Of these two, only Voyager's EMH, known as The Doctor or "Joe", survived. With a total run-time of approximately 10 years, he is the oldest EMH known to be in existence.

The Doctor started his service on the USS Voyager as an Emergency Medical Hologram built into the starship's sickbays as a stop-gap measure for use if the ship's doctor should be temporarily unable to perform his duties. In the first episode, Voyager's entire medical department was destroyed and all medical personnel killed, and the EMH was called into duty.

Over the course of Voyager's seven seasons, the Doctor's program evolved to become more lifelike, with emotions and ambitions, and developed meaningful and complex relationships with many members of the ship's crew. The Doctor also developed talents as a playwright and artist, and became a connoisseur of the opera. A recurring theme in the series was the set of ethical questions surrounding an artificial, but apparently sentient being. The Voyager crew overcame their initial attitudes towards his artificial form of life, eventually treating the Doctor as a full equal. However, both Starfleet and beings encountered by the Voyager crew did not always accept the Doctor as a sentient being with all the rights afforded to a living person.

In the earlier episodes the Doctor always says "Please state the nature of the medical emergency" when he is activated.

The Doctor also acquired a "mobile emitter" which allowed him to move freely, unbound by fixed holographic projectors. He has been decorated for valor in combat, and has saved the ship many times from disaster. Later, an addition was made to his program, the Emergency Command Hologram, or ECH.

One recurring theme in the Doctor's life was his lack of a name. Starfleet did not give him a name, and for a long time the Doctor maintained that he did not want to have a name. Later, over the years, he adopted such names as Schmullus, Schweitzer (after Albert Schweitzer), Van Gogh, and others, before finally, in one potential future, settling on Joe. For the holographic family he created for himself in the episode "Real Life", he went by the name Kenneth. The captioned dialog of very early episodes refer to him by the last name Zimmerman, after his creator.

In the episode "Blink of an Eye", the Voyager became trapped in the orbit of a planet where time passed much faster than the rest of the galaxy. The Doctor went down to the planet, where he lived for three "years" and somehow fathered a child named Jason Tabreez.

The Doctor's programming evolved to the point where he fell in love with Seven of Nine, though she did not reciprocate those feelings. In an alternate future shown in the episode, "Endgame", the future in which he adopts the name Joe, The Doctor eventually marries a human female, Lana (played by Amy Lindsay), who at first glance resembles Seven of Nine.

Robert Picardo also had a cameo in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, where he played the emergency medical hologram of the USS Enterprise-E. Doctor Beverly Crusher activated him as a means of distracting the Borg as they escaped. He replied, "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop", a homage to Doctor McCoy's famous line "I'm a doctor, not a...". (The Voyager EMH also made this reference: when Neelix became an unwitting organ donor to the Vidiians in the first-season episode "The Phage", he was placed in Sickbay while the crew pursued the organ thieves. Neelix made a disparaging remark about the infirmary's decor, to which the Doctor responded, "I'm a doctor, not a decorator.")

Later on in the Series the Doctor took on a hobby that many doctors today play: golf.

The third Mark I who escaped being re-assigned to menial labour was actually a back-up copy of the Voyager EMH. Captain Janeway had agreed to provide the Vaskans with medical supplies in exchange for dilithium crystals. The Kyrians, who were at war with the Vaskans, boarded Voyager to stop the deal, which they thought was a weapons deal of some sort. During their time on the ship, they stole a data module carrying a backup copy of the Doctor. 700 years later this module was part of a Kyrian museum exhibit which showed their version of the encounter. This biased encounter showed Voyager as a warship, crewed by a savage and sadistic crew that was willing to commit genocide. Even the Vaskan in the simulation became horrified over the atrocities committed, but the simulated Janeway told him it was too late to stop now. A curator at the museum finally figured out how to revive the holographic doctor. The Doctor was able to finally set the 700 year old record straight. Following that, the Doctor served as the surgical chancellor for the Kyrians and Vaskans for many years. Eventually he took a ship and departed for Earth — he felt a strong need to go home.

While spending some time in the 20th century, Voyager's EMH received a mobile emitter, a piece of 29th century technology that allows him to move freely anywhere.

His character's growth and gradual humanisation throughout Star Trek: Voyager provided one of the more compelling arcs in the series, eventually repeated with Seven of Nine in later seasons.

The Doctor created the ECH, or Emergency Command Hologram, during one of his many fantasies. This was once used when the Doctor took over Voyager when the Captain couldn't command.

Dr. Zimmerman has also been involved in a project to create a longer-running version of the EMH, the Long-term Medical Hologram. The status of this project is unknown following the discovery that Dr. Julian Bashir, the man selected to be the template for the LMH, was genetically enhanced.

See also

External links

it:Dottore (Star Trek) nl:De dokter (Star Trek)


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