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The Doctor, an Emergency Medical Hologram Mark I (or EMH for short) is a fictional character from the television series Star Trek: Voyager, played by actor Robert Picardo. The character also appeared in the now-closed Star Trek: The Experience Borg 4-D Adventure at the Las Vegas Hilton. There has been only one update to the Mark I seen on screen so far, the Mark II played by Andy Dick in the episode "Message in a Bottle", which supposedly had a "better" bedside manner than the Mark I, as well as possibly some updated medical information.
The EMH is a holographic computer program designed to treat patients during emergency situations, or when the regular medical staff is unavailable or incapacitated. EMHs are now a standard feature onboard all Starfleet ships, but they are there only to supplement the living medical crew, not replace it. Programmed with all current Starfleet medical knowledge, the Doctor and all Mark Is are equipped with the knowledge and mannerisms of historic Federation doctors, as well as the physical appearance of their programmer, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman.
The character of the Doctor began his service on the USS Voyager as the standard Emergency Medical Hologram built into almost every newer Starfleet ship's sickbay. The EMH is for use should the ship's doctor be incapacitated. In the series' first episode, Voyager's Chief Medical Officer, along with his Vulcan nurse, were killed, necessitating extended use of the EMH. The EMH eventually developed his own personality, although he generally maintained his acerbic wit. Since he was originally intended as a temporary medical backup system, not as an artificial life form, considerable strains were placed on the Doctor's program during the early parts of the journey. He gained assistance from Kes and Paris, both whom functioned as nurses.
Attempting to develop a realistic personality, the Doctor not only manufactured a holographic family, he had an increasing number of other 'human' experiences. This resulted in the Doctor's program evolving to become more lifelike, with emotions and ambitions. He developed meaningful and complex relationships with many members of the ship's crew. The Doctor also developed talents as a playwright, artist, photographer, and even became a connoisseur of the opera.
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