On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor’s Pursuit of Life, Love and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier

Thomas J. Sims. Pegasus, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-68177-851-8
In his lively and touching debut, Sims recounts his year-and-a-half stay as a doctor in Alaska. As he neared the end of his internship at UCLA in 1971, Sims accepted a pediatric physician job with the U.S. Public Health Service and was assigned work in the remote arctic town of Nome. There, with his pregnant wife and young daughter, Sims served as the town’s lone doctor and encountered bureaucratic obstructions from the administrator at the hospital where he worked; local skepticism after his predecessor impregnated an Eskimo girl, then planned to give her an abortion; and a lack of modern medical instruments and drugs. Buoyed by his steadfast wife, Pat, and an instinctive gift for seat-of-his-pants-doctoring, Sims delivered babies, took out appendixes, and treated broken limbs; he eventually became a part of the community and a lifeline for far-flung Eskimo villages. His 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. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
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