[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
A Piece of My Mind
October 18, 2000

Five Miles From Tomorrow

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(15):1897-1898. doi:10.1001/jama.284.15.1897

The man sitting on the examining table is a bona fide celebrity—at 97 he is by far the oldest person in this remote polar village, and the whole town has an interest in his health. He is also the last patient of the day, a day that has introduced my medical student mind to 40 new patients in a single afternoon. Optimistically, I hope the "chief complaint" is an easy one.

The village—an Arctic afterthought of a human settlement—makes Timbuktu feel metropolitan. Lodged on the tip of an island in the Bering Sea, this 450-person outpost rests on a flat plain of gravel stones and is buried in snow nine months of the year. The closest movie theater is a Slovak cineplex in Eastern Siberia, and proximity to the international date line places the town literally five miles from tomorrow.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview