April 6th, 2008
02:11 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

Clinton campaigned in Montana Saturday.

Clinton campaigned in Montana Saturday.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton’s campaign says the candidate will stop telling the story of an uninsured pregnant woman who lost the baby and died after being denied medical care, following a hospital raising questions over its accuracy.

Clinton has frequently told the emotional story of the woman from rural Ohio since late February. In the speech, Clinton said the woman made minimum wage working at a local pizza restaurant, without insurance, when she became pregnant. Clinton said the woman ran into trouble and went to a hospital in a nearby county but was denied treatment because she couldn’t afford a $100 payment.

In the speech, Clinton said the woman later was taken to the hospital by ambulance and lost the baby. The young woman was then taken by helicopter to a Columbus hospital where she died of complications.

As recently as Friday night in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Clinton said, “As I was listening to this story being told, I was just aching inside. It is so wrong, in this good, great and rich country, that a young woman and her baby would die because she didn’t have health insurance or a hundred dollars to get examined.”

But an Athens, Ohio hospital is questioning the accuracy of the story. While Clinton never named the hospital in her speech, the woman she was referring to was treated at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens. The hospital said the woman did indeed have insurance, and at least at their hospital was never turned away.

Hospital chief executive officer Rick Castrop in a statement said, “we reviewed the medical and patient accounts of the patient” after she was named in a newspaper story about Clinton’s stump speech. “There is no indication that she was ever denied medical care at any time, for any reason. We clearly reject any perception that we ever denied any care to this woman.”

A hospital spokesperson confirmed to CNN the woman had insurance. She said the hospital decided to come forward after people in the community began to question if they had denied her care.

Clinton was first told the story during a campaign visit to a family’s living room in Pomeroy, Ohio. Bryan Holman, who was hosting the candidate, at the event told her on Febuary 28, ‘I’d like to tell you a story of a young women I know that didn't have health insurance. She worked in a little pizza place around here and she was pregnant and worked for minimum wage ..The hospital told her she needed a hundred dollars up front that she didn't have, of course.”

Clinton’s speech accurately reflects what she was told that day, but the campaign admits they were not able to confirm the account.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said, “She had no reason to doubt his word”. He said,” Candidates are told stories by people all the time, and it’s common for candidates to retell those stories. It’s not always possible to fully vet them, but we try. For example, medical records are confidential. In this case, we tried but weren’t able to fully vet the story.”

Elleithee added, “If the hospital claims it didn’t happen that way, we certainly respect that and she won’t repeat the story.”

“She never mentions the hospital by name and isn’t trying to cast blame. She tells this story because it illustrates the point that we have a very serious health care problem in America. That’s a point very few people will dispute," he also said.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (884 Responses)
  1. LifeLongDemocrat

    Hospitals and insurance companies hide behind the privacy of medical records. We know these kinds of things happen.

    A friend of mine, a lawyer, had a one week gap in her health insurance as she was changing plans. She was mugged, had a head injury and was able to access a state victims program account. (new lawyer with student loans) Her daughter, a doctor, told her to never be without insurance as there are some procedures an ER will never do if the person doesn't have insurance.

    America's dirty little secret!

    April 6, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Anita

    If you don't KNOW it to be true , then vet the story before repeating in a
    campaign speech.
    These "stories" no more dependable or respectable than water cooler or high school gossip.

    April 6, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Bridget

    If I couldn't verify a story I was told by someone who wasn't even related to the woman in question, I don't think I'd repeat that story over and over and over and over and over...kinda hurts the credibility of the person telling the story.

    April 6, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Bama man

    This woman is so low she will do anything or say anything to get elected. I have always been told becareful of what you wish for. She is evil

    April 6, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. david

    say anything to win strategy. Hillary is really spoiling her political career at this time. her rating is going down and campaign is not helping democrats now she is saying that pledeged delegates can switch. i dont understand what she is saying nowadsys.

    April 6, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. RGreene Knoxville,Tn.

    Why didn't she check out the facts? Totally irresponsible.

    April 6, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Micah A.

    Will she ever stop lying?

    And how does the hospital know that they're talking about the same woman?

    April 6, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Mark from Athens, Ohio

    How many more lies are we going to hear from HRC?

    No more lies, no more Hillary.

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Jack Robertson

    I just can't believe that yet another Clinton story has been found to be false. Will the 'misspeaking' ever end, Hillary?

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. ranheb

    Once again she is caught in a lie.

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Emily


    When will she ever stop.......... GET OUT NOW!

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Mike in Minneapolis

    This woman just seems to be an incessant liar! Is she autistic? Bipolar? Maybe she has ADD. Whatever the case, there is definitely something wrong with her thinking. And we want a person like this running the country? I don't think so.

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Jeremy

    A member of the Clinton family telling a lie to advance their own career? How very precedented...

    April 6, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Mark

    You know, it's getting ridiculous now. Every couple of days a new lie by the Clintons is revealed. Hillary Clinton is out of control and will literally say anything. She is the very essence of "untrustworthy". The American people need someone better than this as commander in chief. What kind of example does Hillary set for out children by lying to get ahead?

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. NoClintons

    Clinton again caught in another lie they keep piling up for her lets see what are supporters are going to say about this

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Oscar David

    This is again another below the belt technique of Ms. Clinton to win whatever it takes. I didn't see the rationale behind this outregeous and unchristian act for election purposes. Now America has a preview of what this lady is capable of doing if she becomes president.

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. BEAMON

    Who cares? The story is a metaphor. The point is that Hillary is the only candidate in the race with a health care plan that covers everyone and how bad and dumb the current system is.

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Lourdes

    Hillary Clinton: I"m just going to go out on the stump and tell blatant lies knowing full well that I'll get caught eventually because in the meantime a few people will believe them and never be the wiser once the truth is revealed. Then when the truth is revealed and my opponents attack me, I will blame THEM for picking on me (since I am a woman after all) and say they are hypocrites for "going negative".

    Smart woman....she doesn't make mistakes, only calculated actions with measured outcomes. It's not sleep deprivation.

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. mike

    Another made up story (LIE). At least Bush waited to lie until he got into office. Wow Clinton has great character, I would love to see another pres who has no problem lieing to the american people.

    April 6, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. TNA

    Will the lies ever stop?!

    Obama/Richardson '08

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. PaJC

    If I am not mistaken, denial of care to the young woman would be a violation of EMTALA, the emergency medical treatment and labor act.

    Nice that the Clinton campaign doesn't feel that it needs to regard even a minimal journalistic standard, i.e. confirming a story. Without such a standard candidates are telling tales, not stories.

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Dan from Minnesota

    I'm sure she was just sleep deprived the few dozens of times she told the story.

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Linda Wang

    Clintons seem they think they can get away from anything and very smart in a twisted wrong way. Integrity maybe the only difference between human and mouse if they both can get grain.

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. ForeverAMommy

    How many times must Clintons exagerations be pointed out before America realizes she isn't the right person for the job. I am a mother and when Clinton first ran, I was behind her. i beleived that a woman, THIS woman was right. And then I took the time to look further. It's time to step down, and let the right person take the lead. Lets focus now on November and not the split between Obama and Clinton. I'm ready for a change, I'm ready for Obama.

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Clinton Can't Win

    I guess next time she's on Jay Leno she can joke about this too..

    April 6, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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