On Call in the Arctic
A Doctor’s Pursuit of Life, Love and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier.
The extraordinary memoir of a young doctor and his wife as she struggles to make a home and he to practice medicine in the most archaic conditions imaginable at the top of the world.
The fish-out-of-water stories of Northern Exposure and crazy antics of Doc Martin come face-to-face in the rough-and-rugged setting of The Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People in the Thomas J. Sims memoir “On Call in the Arctic” – a true life adventure where the author relates his incredible experience saving other people’s lives while almost losing his own. And it all happens in one of the most remote outposts in North America – the frozen Alaskan Arctic.
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 then left alone, with no other doctors to help, to perform feats of medicine and surgery far beyond his level of training or experience. Well, that was Dr. Tom Sims and “On Call in the Arctic” is his story.
In the Arctic, Sims travels over death-defying terrain by dogsled, snowmobile and bush plane to reach Arctic villagers in need of help. He performs surgery without real anesthesia often under flashlight illumination, delivers babies by Coleman lantern, even delivers his own son because he is the only doctor in town. Before Arctic winter sets in, he is called upon to subdue a murderous psychotic hermit sitting atop a hill shooting up locals in the Eskimo village of White Mountain. And then, when winter does arrive, he fights depression from lack of sunlight and the death of two close friends.
As if life in the Arctic isn’t difficult enough, even though Sims 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 as part of the U.S. Public Health Service and not truly a member of the local chosen few. Bearing that in his heart, Sims 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 true story of an idealistic young man who follows his instincts and, based upon those instincts, learns to overcome prejudice and unsurmountable odds in order to achieve success far beyond what he ever could have believed possible.
“Loved this edge of your seat, page-turning memoir of a new California doctor being sent to a remote village in Alaska. Dr. Tom Sims is an incredible physician and a talented writer. His courage and service to others is evident in each page as he battles the harsh elements, cultural tensions, office politics, and family stresses to provide the best care he can to the villagers in Nome, Alaska. What an incredible story! I look forward to reading his next book.”
Tucker Axum, author of “The Reawakening of Mage Axum”
and co-author of “Cajun Justice”
“Thomas Sims is a wonderful story-teller and reading “On Call in the Arctic” is like sitting and listening to Sims by a warm fireplace. You don’t want it to end.”
Fern Field Brooks
Executive Producer of “MONK”, and author of “Letters to My Husband” and “They Call me Destiny”
“A lively and touching debut. Sims’ writing moves at a rapid-pace, in step with the life-and-death tales he recounts, slowing down only to focus on such moving occasions as the birth of a three-pound baby and the painful death of a hospital colleague. Sims has delivered a captivating account of practicing medicine in the furthest reaches of the U.S.”
“Entertaining and insightful. Pulse racing, reading “On Call in the Arctic” is filled with adrenalin highs and heartrending lows. But it’s all in a day’s work in the land of the midnight sun. A guaranteed great read.”
James A. Misko, award-winning author of “The Path of the Wind”
“Thomas Sims’ writing is clean, lean, and fast paced.”
Wendy Girard, filmmaker
“Operating on a patient by flashlight one night and then setting salmon nets in the ocean the next day – “On Call in the Arctic” is the perfect escape. A wonderfully drawn account of years past that Tom, and the reader, won’t ever forget.
Thom Racina, author of Snow Angel