Richard Nixon 1977 Autograph Letter Signed – To His Personal Physician


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37th President.  Autograph letter signed (ALS) “Dick”, one page, 7.25×10.5, personal letterhead from San Clemente, California, July 7, 1977 (dated by Nixon as “7-7-777”), to his longtime personal doctor, John C. Lungren, in full:

The unique combination of curly 7s on the letterhead appropriately marks the day I received your announcement of your return to active practice.

I knew that your real heart would see you through the temporary damage to your physical heart.

Take good care of yourself so that you can continue to take good care of your patients.

Pat joins me in sending our congratulations & best wishes.

In very fine condition, mailing folds, slight smudge to right of signature.

According to the obituary of Dr. John Lungren in the New York Times on March 1, 2000:

Dr. John C. Lungren, former President Richard M. Nixon’s longtime personal physician, died on Monday at Long Beach Memorial Hospital Medical Center in California, where he guided Nixon’s care during a near-fatal illness in 1974. He was 83.

Dr. Lungren was a specialist in internal medicine and cardiology and a former chief of staff at Long Beach Memorial.

An early supporter of Nixon, he was the family’s physician from 1952 and cared for Pat Nixon when she had a stroke in 1976.

Dr. Lungren was thrust into the national spotlight in 1974 when, shortly after Nixon resigned the presidency, Nixon nearly died from complications of phlebitis, an inflammation of veins in his leg.

Appearing at news conferences to give updates on Nixon’s condition, Dr. Lungren was the man in the middle in a dispute over Nixon’s ability to testify at the Watergate cover-up trial of his former aides, including H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and John Mitchell, the former attorney general.

At the time, many speculated that the former president was trying to avoid testifying. After Dr. Lungren said Nixon could not travel to Washington for up to three months because of phlebitis, Judge John J. Sirica, who presided over the trial, sent a panel of three doctors to determine his fitness to testify.

Dr. Lungren said he understood the need but expressed displeasure that all three doctors were from Eastern medical centers and none from the West. The panel agreed that Nixon was not fit to travel for several weeks, and Judge Sirica said he could not wait.

Nixon’s brush with death came about two months after his resignation. He had developed phlebitis many years earlier and in a common way — after a long flight. The 1974 flareup occurred during the waning weeks of his presidency. When the phlebitis worsened after his return to California as a private citizen, Dr. Lungren said he twice advised Nixon to enter a hospital for treatment. But Nixon delayed, saying, ”If I go into the hospital, I’ll never come out alive.”

His fear nearly came to be.

In September, 45 days after resigning, Nixon relented and entered the hospital. A few days later, a piece of a clot that formed in the inflamed vein in his left leg broke off and traveled in the bloodstream to damage his right lung. After a two-week stay, Nixon went home.

Three weeks later Nixon was back in the hospital. This time he nearly died when he went into shock from bleeding as a complication of an operation to prevent further damage from blood clots.