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. Carolina Girl

    Maybe they were telling her this story when she was running from her plane under sniper fire and she just mixed up her facts....again!!

    April 6, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. James Pagani

    Another exageration of lies from the Clintons. What an hypocrite!

    April 6, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Obama

    Hillary hold campaign is base on miss spoke stories and lies.

    April 6, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Tim

    another instance where she will say anything, do anything to win. She takes a simple story, spins it, and cries over it to get a few sympathy votes.

    You know what this equals..... a LIE!

    She lied and she will either say that she was too moved by the story, that she misspoke, or that she hasn't had enough sleep.... Don't we teach our children not to lie?

    Shame on you, Clinton, Shame on you!

    April 6, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Michelle

    Even if the story was true, it doesn't support the need for "universal" health care. The U.S. doesn't have a "health care" problem. We have a "health" problem. When a majority of our health care dollars are spent on diseases that could be prevented or minimized if we took better care of ourselves, that is a "health" problem. Granted, pregnancy doesn't fall into this category, but universal health care doesn't necessarily encourage us to take better care of ourselves. Any health care system needs to focus more on preventive health care and not just providing dollars for diseases that could be prevented.

    April 6, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Brian Austin, TX

    Do you really want the future President of the United States listening to faulty intelligence? Isn't that what happened LAST TIME? If you aren't 100% positive about something YOU DON'T SAY ANYTHING! Anything less is a fabrication (read: lie)

    April 6, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Bob Stephens

    How can people even think of voting for a women who is a habitual liar?

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. TW

    Billary love to lie. Lying is so ingrained in their character and behavior you have to wonder if they retain any connection to the real world. We can only hope that these two egomaniacs will be content with their $100 million and go off to lie to one another and leave the rest of us in peace.

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Maria

    Lets get this straight. Hillary was told of this woman by the sheriff department. Hillary then included this story in her speeches. The major point being Hillary was relaying a story given to her by the police to shown a broken health care system. Seems to me the news is having a slow day. Simple put, Hillary's claim of a broken health care system still holds true and it isn't Hiallry guilty of trying to lie but rather a miss-communication given to her by the police department.

    Now everyone will claim how she continues to lie, in spite of the fact that Hillary did not lie and the point of her story still hold up as a broken health care system.

    Lets not lose track of the issue at hand, a broken health care system.

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. NickSanDiego

    So this was ALL because a person she " Trusted" told her something she took as FACT and so she didn't bother to CONFIRM the information before sending it out to a trusting PUBLIC who then would ACT on it because we thought we were supposed to TRUST in our LEADERSHIP??

    Isn't how we got into Iraq??? I see she has learned alot from ole Bush. I think we have been calling the wrong Candidate McSame!

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Quirina The Netherlands

    Another "story", before checking the exact facts, by Hillary Clinton eventhough there is a huge medical health care problem in the USA. Come on USA wake up, this woman is a fake. Only thing she wants is to become the first female President for herself but not for the people of the USA! The people that surround her and give her the information are wrong and she, if she would be the President, should check the facts before talking! She is dangerous Nationally and Internationally! Do you want her to pick up the phone at 3am?!!!!

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

    Hillary Clinton is blatantly lying to the American public to get their sympathy and their votes. This is ridiculous. This is the 2nd time where her story is being questioned. Her campaign has accused the Bush administration of lying the public to go to war yet she goes out there and makes up stories to bolster her campaign. This is just hypocritical and out of line.

    I am sick and tired of these politicians resorting to cheap tactics and lies just to get our votes. I hope this story is clearly researched into and the truth is brought out. It is very important for Americans to know what actually occurred with this woman, her baby and the hospital.

    We need to know the authenticity of Hillary Clinton. I hope CNN gets Dr. Sanjay Gupta to find out what exactly is the real story from medical point of view. Is Hillary Clinton exaggerating other stories just like she has done with this and the Bosnia story?

    Again, Obama does not need to do anything. He just needs to sit there and watch Hillary Clinton dismantle herself. She is panicking and making up stories. Just sad.

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Avinash A

    A set of ongoing desperate lies to help H. Clinton to a so called victory.To me the Clintons are despicable.I wonder why so many still put faith in her after the sniper story and now this.I am sure that many things she says have more lies than truth.

    April 6, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Ig

    Oh lawd...please help her bow out gracefully!!!

    April 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Michael Guinn- Ventura, CA

    I can understand how when you get a story from a supporter regarding an issue close to your heart- that you would use it before it was checked out.
    Even though this particular incident didn't happen- it very well could and probably did to someone else.
    As an Obama supporter, I will NOT lambast Hillary on this- nor do I think anyone else whould. The issue is HEALTHCARE and WE NEED IT!

    April 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Gary OBrien, AL

    Another case of a "mis-representation"? In my world it's called a lie... Hillary has repeatedly demonstrated that she will tell any story if she thinks it will help her, regardless of whether or not it's true. Wonder what else she would do?

    April 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. skipper

    she didn't even check the facts just repeated(supposedly)some fake story from a deputy sherrif who we all know are all so very truthful and never embellish crime reports to make themselves seem as heroes ...hmmm birds of a feather flock together

    April 6, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. julia

    it doesn't change the fact that stuff like this does happen in the U.S. people are turned away or ignored for not having insurance and have died! so maybe she got the wrong hospital but the fact still remains, it does happen.

    April 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Nicole (Toronto)

    One tall tale after another. Stop exploiting peoples emotions for personal political gain. It's so convenient that Hillary's "stories" are only vetted after state primaries. If it were me voting I'd sure feel duped. PA are you watching and learning?

    April 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. T. Haynes

    Another day and another Clinton lie. You do not know what to believe from her anymore. I am finished with the Clintons!

    April 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. MJ

    When is everyone going to learn that Hillary and Bill are always lying ?...That is who they are and I do not want a liar as my President.

    April 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. lacey

    When in doubt, don't tell the story unless it checks out. Fact checking is integral to responsible journalism, as it should be to campaign speeches. At least she should have said, "While we haven't been able to corroborate this story, I heard from a voter I met in...." However, it would have been better to use an example that could have been verified.

    April 6, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Dan

    cnn propaganda

    April 6, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Sam

    oh my god.... how many lies will this woman tell? This is really disgusting.... to stoop to such a level in order to become president is sickening.

    April 6, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Pennsylvania Joe

    Clinton is lying again? NO! Honestly, I can't believe how anyone continues to support this politician. She represents the worst our elected officials have to offer. Lying. Blind ambition. Greed. Partisan rancor. Pandering.

    She wanted Obama vetted... I'm happy that through this extended primary, SHE'S the one who has been vetted. Now America can see what kind of a scoundrel she really is.

    April 6, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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