“On Call in the Arctic” A Memoir
Cross the fish-out-of-water narratives of Northern Exposure with the crazy antics of BBC’s Doc Martin and The Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People and you get “On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor’s Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier” – the extraordinary adventure memoir that chronicles the life and work of Dr. Thomas Sims as he struggles to save lives and himself in the Alaskan frontier.Imagine a young doctor, trained in the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment, who is suddenly transported back to one of the world’s most isolated and unforgiving environments—the Alaskan bush – then left there to perform feats of medicine and surgery far beyond his, or any doctor’s, level of training or experience. Well, that was Dr. Tom Sims and “On Call in the Arctic” is his story.Alone in the Arctic with no other physicians to help, Sims finds himself delivering babies by Coleman lantern in remote Eskimo villages and performing surgery without real anesthesia under flashlight illumination. He travels over death-defying terrain by snowmobile, delivers his own son, and fights depression during the bleakness of Arctic winter and the death of two most close to him. He is even called upon to subdue a murderous psychotic hermit shooting up locals in the Eskimo village of White Mountain with only his medical bag and wit to help him.
As if life isn’t difficult enough for Sims, even though he works tirelessly for all residents of Nome, certain elements of the community consider him an “outsider” since he is an employee of the federal government working with the Public Health System. Bearing that in his heart, he must overcome racism and cultural prejudices of those in power who want nothing more than to see him sent packing.
“On Call in the Arctic” is a fast-paced read of adventure and hope, filled with adrenaline highs and heartrending lows. It is the inspirational story of an idealistic young man who follows his instincts, based upon his training, to overcome insurmountable odds and achieve success in saving lives more than he ever believed himself possible.