The fish-out-of-water stories of Northern Exposure and Doc Martin meet the rough-and-rugged setting of The Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People in Thomas J. Sims’s On Call in the Arctic, where the author relates his incredible experience saving lives in one of the most remote outposts in North America.
Imagine a young doctor, trained in the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment, suddenly transported back to one of the world’s most isolated and unforgiving environments―Nome, Alaska. Dr. Sims’ plans to become a pediatric surgeon drastically changed when, on the eve of being drafted into the Army to serve as a M.A.S.H. surgeon in Vietnam, he was offered a commission in the U.S. Public Health for assignment in Anchorage, Alaska.
In Anchorage, Dr. Sims was scheduled to act as Chief of Pediatrics at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Life changed, along with his military orders, when he learned he was being transferred from Anchorage to work as the only physician in Nome. There, he would have the awesome responsibility of rendering medical care under archaic conditions to the population of this frontier town plus thirteen Eskimo villages in the surrounding Norton Sound area. And he would do it alone with little help and support. All the while, he was pegged as both an “outsider” and an employee of the much-derided federal government.