Emergency medical hologram
An emergency medical hologram (or EMH) is a computerized medical system to attend patients on a Federation starship if the ship's medical staff is incapacitated. The system uses holodeck technology to project a humanoid image with force-field support to allow the image to manipulate medical equipment. An AI program connected to a medical database operates the image like a puppet.
A typical Starfleet EMH has technical proficiency in many fields of medicine, but they tend to have a poor bedside manner, not having been designed to deal with patients on a regular basis for routine care. Attempts to rectify this in later revisions of the EMH program proved unsuccessful, and many EMHs were repurposed for menial tasks.
When the chief medical officer of the USS Voyager was killed, the ship's EMH was forced to serve as CMO for the ship. Consequently, this medical hologram spent far more time actively running than any other EMH in Starfleet. Since the EMH program is an artificial intelligence with learning ability, the Voyager EMH developed a far more complex personality than most EMH programs. Voyager's EMH is probably the only truly likable personality on Voyager.
The Doctor, as he came to be called, started with a poor social situation, as the crew failed to accept him as an individual. As such, he had to deal with being turned on and off at rather uncomfortable times and was not initially treated with respect by his patients. This was partly due to having a cold bedside manner at first, as the EMH was never intended to serve on an extended basis. He was also treated with distrust by many members of the crew, with the exceptions of perhaps Kes and Tom Paris, who spent the most time working with him. Crewmembers would often refuse to converse directly with the Doctor, preferring to address Kes or Tom, to their annoyance as well. However, this situation was addressed, allowing the Doctor to control how he was switched off if he wanted to. His annoyance with Neelix's refusal to accept his authority as CMO did have the satisfaction of seeing him toss his interfering hide out of sickbay on at least one occasion.
- The Doctor (Doctor Who) for information about the BBC science fiction character, who fortunately has no relationship to Voyager.