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. Chris

    Why is this surprising. CLINTON IS A LIAR !!!

    The surprising thing is how her supporters are still supporting her. Why are they still supporting her? Haven't they experienced what it is like living under George Bush? Why are they willing to have another George Bush?

    Hillary supporters – Vote for Obama. You know Hillary too well to support her. Vote for Obama.

    April 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. SBAMA

    Is anything Hillary says true? All she does is fabricate and twist details to make herself look good. She is as truthful as good ole' Bill when he said "I did not have...." you know the line.

    April 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Kel

    Wow. The lies just keep unfurling. This is beginning to become amusing. Who wants a president who gets caught in lies repeatedly during the campaign? Imagine what a liar she'll be if she ever got in office! Keep this person away from the helms of our country!

    Obama 08!

    April 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. appalled

    Has Hillary no shame? She just continues to lie. People have always rejected certain politicians for a variety of reasons. How can people defend this? When she runs out of the truth, she starts making things up. If it were the first time, maybe it could be explained away. It is not, and it is getting old. Vote for anyone but her. Please.

    April 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. doug m

    this is just one more example of Hillarys lack of integrity.

    April 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Independent

    Hillary keeps talking about someone has to be fully vetted. This is a prime example of her not being vetted if she cannot even verify a story over and over again, as she did Bosnia. This woman is nothing but two faced and self serving!! She did not fuuly vet herself with her tax returns. Where exactly id the money that Bill made for speeches come from- – foreign entity's that he has a financila interests in?

    April 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Lies Again

    More lies...same ole' thing. Can't Clinton manage to get one story straight!

    April 6, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Canonsburg, PA

    Had Clinton not been caught lying about other "stories", I'd be more inclined to be sympathetic to her on this one. Frankly, when I hear her talking, I don't have any idea whether I can believe her or not. I don't know her personally, so how am I supposed to know when she is telling me the truth or not? Is it 80% truth today, 90% truth tomorrow, 70% truth the next day? Unfortunately, this is exactly how I feel about George Bush. I can never know when he is telling the truth either. I don't care for George Bush for this reason. I feel the same about the Clintons. I'll be voting for Obama this year.

    April 6, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Tim R in Golden, Colorado

    Yet another in the sad string of 'misspeaks' by the "say anything, do anything" Clintons.

    [long past] Time for Hillary Huckabee to drop out.

    The truth is irrelevant to the Clintons; they'll do whatever they think it takes to get votes.

    April 6, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. kays

    Clinton should always check the accuarcy of her stories before telling them, she keep lying about things that never happen or things that she never under went but once she is caught she and her serrogates will try to come up with one excuse or the other to deffend them selves. If she will be so ready from day one as she claims to be how come she never check the accuracy of her stories. Few weeks ago she lied that she was been under sniper attack while she was on a trip oversea with her daughter, she was caught red handed then she later blamed it to sleep deprivation. If she cant tell the the American people the truth then how can she answer the phone at three a.m if elected? She voted and sent our troops to war but when asked she stated that the way the resolution was written didnt show or give the president the authorization to wage a war against the Iraqi people. Please she might need some one to teach her how to read and comprehend at the same time, Obama might be a good teacher for her if she can stop castigating him and making John Mccain look better.

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Charlie Young

    This is sad CNN. I have a lot of respect for your news broadcasting, it's my favorite in fact. Your headline which claims that Hillary's hospital story is false is terrible news reporting and once again shows your inability to stay neutral. The article states only that one particular hospital, not even confirmed by the hospital or Clinton, is saying it is not true. Of coarse a hospital at the center of a terrible claim is going to deny the allegations. Instead of reporting dirty headlines, try something more appropriate and dare I say true, like " Hillary's story challenged by hospital in question". It may very well be true that these stories are falsified or changed to help Hillary, but until it is found to be absolutely true, report it as an allegation, not a conviction. This country is founded upon the principle of innocence until otherwise proven. Come on CNN, you're better than this one sided reporting you've been doing throughout this campaign.

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Sunshine from University of Florida

    another misspeak

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Angus McDugan

    America, can't we let this one lie slide.

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Obama Supporter

    Here's another consequence of Clinton's sleep deprivation :). Poor Hillary.

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. KLM

    Once again another lie.

    April 6, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. ed

    does anyone still trust Hillary? She's a pathological liar. Her campaign claims they tried to confirm the account but because the patients medical records were private, they couldn't fully vet the story. But all they had to do was call the medical facility, which they obviously did not. Hillary lies about everything.

    April 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Becky Montgomery

    I finally realized what is happening here. Have you seen Stephen King's "The Langoliers?" There is a time/space equilibrium warp and some beings with teeth come in at the end of each day and "eat" everything and then the next day is "constructed."

    I think this is what Hillary's campaign does. Lies are told and then dismissed, and a new reality is formed, and so on and so on. The movie is science fiction; I think Hillary's statements and actions are also.

    Hillary's candidacy could be a Stephen King movie, except people would probably say it went too far from reality, even for science fiction.

    April 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. kbk

    I wonder what kind of experience she is talking about. All the experience and stories she is talking about are turning out to be false.
    After Bosnia lie ..then Mark Penn's colombian story..now here is the next one which is goung to hound her for some time now.
    After all why is she telling all these lies??
    Is she doing, telling anything to get this nomination?
    For me now its clear that Obama is going to be the nominee.

    Go Obama 08!!

    April 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. JW from Texas

    Another lie during her campain. Why am I not suprised? I am beginning to wonder if she will ever tell the truth.

    April 6, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Nate

    It's pretty silly that Mrs. Clinton feels the need to make up a horrible story to prove her point about health care. If she's telling a real story about something to make a point it's fine, but it stinks to high heaven to make up a horrible story to pull at people's heart strings- It's very manipulative at the very least.

    If this were the only time we'd seen Hillary be less than truthful, it wouldn't be a big deal. It seems to show a pattern that isn't very appealing. My confidence in Hillary is fading.

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Cal Jim 2

    OK, let's ask these questions. Is the baby dead? Yes! Is the mother of the baby dead? Yes! Then I say, no matter what the hospital management says, they killed a baby and the mother. Now mix the words all you want, but the current system stilled killed two people. Oh, but maybe they might have been insured,... still doesn't help the dead mother, her baby, or there family, does it? The current system will fight for there top dollar, but won't give there top service, to the people who's lives are in there hands. This happens way too often. It is time for a change. Hillary Clinton has it right. The Clinton health plan is the correct plan for this nation, and our people. That's what I think. How about you?

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Debby

    I bet it did happen that way and the hospital is covering their behinds. Anyone that has been to the emergency room has seen this happen alot to people who either have no health care or have to pay a deductable.

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. JP

    While I don't think the error was intentional, this is another stupid mistake by the campaigns. This time it was Hillary's turn. I am sure the Obama camp will make another stupid mistake shortly.

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Felly

    Hillary is a pathological lier. She has lost credibility in this campaign. No more Bush-Clinton, Bush-Clinton dynasty. We need a real change we can believe in. Go Obama '08.

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Marcela from California

    Just read the San Jose Mercury News from last Friday and you will find an article that gives the facts on how many people die a day and a month in California because they do not have health insurance. There is no way you can take this topic and blow it out of proportion. It is a fact and a reality that people die daily because they don't have health insurance. People need to understand how this issue is affecting millions of lives in the US. I will definitely support Hillary for fighting to help those less fortunate and for trying to get her message across.

    Go Hillary Go!

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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