7

The EMH clearly can hear and see. He doesn't have a sense of taste. Can he smell?

  • Why revert the nice new title – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '17 at 20:23
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    I think the original is better. I want to know if the EMH has a sense of smell. Asking if he smells has more than one meaning. – Ham Sandwich Mar 5 '17 at 20:32
  • Yes, that was the point. A little joy/humour in life. The body unambiguously defines the question. Ah well. (Also, you mean "whether", not "if") – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '17 at 21:10
  • Since my original title was perfectly fine, there was no reason to change it. I don't agree with you about the if/whether distinction. They aren't always interchangeable, but I believe they are in this case. – Ham Sandwich Mar 5 '17 at 21:37
  • Nobody said your original title wasn't "fine", but it could have been better and more funny for HNQ. Not sure you fully appreciate the reason for the edit. Just a bit of a shame is all. & you want to know whether the EMH has a sense of smell. It's not the case that you want to know <some unknown thing> if he does (and not if he doesn't) :) – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '17 at 22:23
19

Yes, the Doctor is fully capable of olfactory detection.

In the episode Future's End, Part II, the Doctor smells a tree, as referenced in the linked article.

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This is quite a sensible feature for a medical hologram to have, given that the capability exists. Many diseases have notable scents, and it would be useful for an emergency medical hologram to be able to use every conventional method of differentiation during triage.

  • 9
    Some diseases also have distict tastes, and back before more sophisticated technology was developed, doctors frequently not only smelled, but also tasted, e.g. diabetes was diagnosed by tasting the patient's urine. – Duane Dibbley Mar 5 '17 at 2:49
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    @DuaneDibbley as I recall, diabetes mellitus translates to "honey flavored urine" – Broklynite Mar 5 '17 at 15:25
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    @DuaneDibbley that's certainly true, but I'm pretty sure that even in triage situations it isn't encouraged for Starfleet medical personnel to lick their patients. – Jeff Mar 5 '17 at 19:53
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    @Jeff I'm sure there's at least one Federation species that uses its prehensile tongue for fine manipulation, so as long as it's done in a sanitary fashion Starfleet probably has provisions for it. – JAB Mar 5 '17 at 19:58
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    @Broklynite With the risk of going too far OT, diabetes is derived from the Greek word for passing through, a reference to the excessive fluid intake and urination seen in patientes with untreated diabetes, and mellitus is the latin word for honey. – Duane Dibbley Mar 6 '17 at 0:47

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