The Pit is a brilliant tribute to those individuals who stand between us and death — the physicians who staff our nation’s emergency rooms. In exquisite, sensitive detail, ER physician Gary Conrad describes how both joy and pathos are everyday experiences for this dedicated group of medical professionals. One moment an ER doc may remove a bug from the ear of a screaming four-year old, the next moment s/he may perform CPR on an adult who may not survive. The Pit is likely to become a classic in the autobiographical medical literature. As I read this gripping account, I found myself thinking: If I’m ever ambulanced to the ER, I hope Dr. Gary Conrad is on duty.”

Larry Dossey, M.D., author of One Mind:
How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters

“Tragedy, humor, frenzy, exhaustion, medical riddles, occasional triumph — the emergency department has everything. Dr. Conrad has seen it all, and he takes us on an often poignant tour with the confidence, grace, and wry wit of a true veteran. A thoroughly engaging, satisfying read.”

David Abercrombie, M.D.

“An insightful look at the intense, stressful, sometimes horrifying world of the emergency physician. You will not come away from this book unaffected. This may be Conrad’s best work yet.”

William Bernhardt, author of
The Last Chance Lawyer

“One does need a modicum of brain power and a willingness to work and study hard to be a decent doctor. But to be a true healer requires a different and far more important set of traits — these include empathy, generosity, kindness, and (maybe most important) a willingness to be self-critical and to laugh at one’s own foibles. And these latter qualities almost jump off the pages of Gary Conrad’s latest memoir.”

Jerome R Hoffman, MA MD
Professor of Medicine Emeritus
UCLA School of Medicine

“A collection of thought-provoking, often heart-wrenching stories allowing us a glimpse into the lives of the very human doctors who face extraordinary challenges in the ER. Humble, honest & genuine!”

Joan Korenblit
Executive Director,
Respect Diversity Foundation

“I was privileged to have worked with Dr. Conrad for over twelve years in the emergency department. This book is a wonderful collection of anecdotes sharing an honest behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of a legendary emergency physician. Told with love, candor, and emotion, The Pit is an enjoyable and revealing read.”

David Walsh, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, OU Medical Center

“Welcome to the emergency department, aka ‘The Pit,’ where no one wants to be but somehow where we all arrive, either for ourselves or someone in our lives. Here, virtually no one is at his/her best, but almost everyone is at his/her most interesting. Gary Conrad takes us on a tour like none other. He details life-saving diagnoses and his own eccentricities, along with never-to-be-forgotten medical school, residency and emergency adventures. This behind-the-scenes book will likely take you places you’d rather not go, but I encourage you to do so. I’m certainly glad I did.”

Elizabeth Copland, M.D.

“If you’ve ever wondered what went on behind the closed doors of an emergency room, and who hasn’t, Conrad’s book The Pit: Memoir of an Emergency Physician, provides an intense and sometimes terrifying glimpse into that rarified world. From laughter to lawsuits, one is immersed in the day-to-day realities of the emergency physician. The fact that it is written with a novelist’s eye and command of the language only makes it that much better.”

Sheldon Russell, author of
The Troll Bridge Murders

“As a colleague of Gary’s for almost thirty years, I was aware of some of these stories, but I was amazed at how many were new to me. Yet, I had experienced profoundly similar events in my career. I would not have the honesty or intestinal fortitude to bare these experiences on paper as Gary has courageously done, though I can tell this has been a therapeutic exercise for him. What I love most about the book is his acknowledgement of the most underpaid, underappreciated instruments of God . . . nurses. Without them, there would be total chaos in the medical world. Well done, Gary! You have captured the essence of life in a medical student, resident, and emergency physician. Gary is living proof that a proper mix of honesty, humility and spirituality will get you by, even in the most difficult of circumstances.”

Dan D. Donnell, M.D.

“When Gary Conrad arrived in our emergency department in July of 1978, I worked alongside him for many years. His descriptive stories from The Pit demonstrate the empathy and skill that he and the nursing staff shared in providing urgent care 24/7. As you will read, Gary’s spiritual belief system assisted him greatly in providing that care. Those who labor in the emergency department are a special breed who thrive in the midst of chaos, prepared for any event at any time. I treasure my relationship with Gary, his fellow physicians and nursing staff who provided high quality emergency care over the years. Those times were some of the best of my life, and I’ll never forget them.”

Ann Warzyn, RN, BSN,
former Nurse Director

“I have been anxiously awaiting the completion of The Pit, and it did not disappoint! The book provides a glimpse of the experiences of Dr. Gary Conrad from medical school to practicing as an emergency physician. I was blessed to work with him in the emergency department as a RN for around seventeen years and still consider him a friend, even after the snake prank (you need to read the book) that I now laugh about. Some of the recollections will bring laughter and others are deadly serious and painful to read. The stories recounted by Dr. Conrad triggered not only many of my own memories from the emergency department, but also reminded me of the closeness and trust shared by the team of people who work there.”

Pam Tucker, MSN, RN

“Dr Gary Conrad takes us on another adventure, but this time through his memories of survival and triumph in The Pit. As a Family Medicine doctor and fellow alumnus of the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship, I shared many of Dr Conrad’s memories of medical school as well as residency and early medical practice. As has become his style, he delivers difficult subjects with a keen insight into the human psyche and sprinkles in humor and hilarious sayings that caught me off guard and made me chuckle. This is a must read for medical professionals or anyone interested in the inner workings of The Pit from the point of view of a seasoned ER doc.”

Robert Edwards, M.D.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Gary for over 35 years including working as a paramedic for a dozen years, both bringing him critical patients and witnessing his clinical acumen on many, many occasions. I found the writing to be captivating and elicited many raw, unexpected emotions. His compelling recollections of his training and practice as an emergency physician demonstrated the sometimes overwhelming demands and challenges faced in emergency medicine.”

Keith Tucker

“Gary D. Conrad has captured the essence of a life dedicated to working in the emergency department. Conrad’s assiduous storytelling hits all the right marks and takes the reader into the mind of the true ‘pit’ doctor.”

Michael Padgham, M.D.