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Rayburn's Doctor Issues Dire Bulletin

Nov. 11, 1961 - Speaker Sam Rayburn’s physician, Dr. Joe Risser (pictured), issued a bulletin this afternoon on the condition of his 79-year-old patient, who has cancer. It said: “Mr. Sam is critical now. The heart is weakening. The infrequent lucid moments are shorter. His breathing is quite labored. No pain is experienced. The prognosis is hours to days.” Mr. Rayburn was visited earlier in the day by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. After leaving Risser Hospital, an emotional Mr. Johnson said: “I went away not knowing whether I’d see him again or not. He’s one of the great men of all times. He’s always been my great friend, my confidant, and counselor.” It was the third Johnson visit since it was announced in early October that Mr. Rayburn had incurable cancer.


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