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. jim

    That sounds all too familiar. If this woman gets the nomination, I will not bother to bring my daughter to see her, since I know she won't be what I would like my daughter to emulate!

    April 6, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Matteo from Canada

    I'm an Obama supporter, but it's not Hillary's fault if she was given misinformation!!

    April 6, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. paul

    I think Hillary Clinton is hurting herself. There are number of occasions she sounds insincere and that would probably cost her votes. Why picking on a story she not sure off. Her honesty will be very much question. She should be telling the truth but not saying anything to get elected. She really had good chances of winning but lack of honesty on issues has greatly ruined her chances of winning the nomination

    April 6, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. TruthChecker

    Caught again!

    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. sam

    I am so tired of you CNN. I stopped watching CNN, but being your #1 fan it's very hard for me to completely avoid you. And it is only when I see stories like this I stop watching you on tv or online for days. Anyway, this is rediculas!!! Obama copies someone else's speech and gives an exact same speech, and that's much worse!!! He know what he was doing. Ms. Clinton is making speeches based on the infromation she knows. If she was given a false info, it's not her mistake. May be shame on the people in her campaign who made up the story.

    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. bob

    From the trip to Bosnia and the mysterious sniper fire leading up to this new revelation.Makes me wonder what Hillary Clinton puts across when its increasingly become clearer at her adeptness to curry votes in her favour with these misguided and weird opinions.

    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    This person has no shame.

    How people can continue to support her candidacy is simply beyond comprehension to me.

    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Marvin Geer

    Oh CNNNNNNNNNN! Obama can do no wrong?

    Inspite of his terrorist ties with Hamas and the PLO through Woods Fund and William Ayers (1971 WEATHERUNDERGROUND founder and bomber of U.S. Federal buildings) Obama continues to be your Messiah while you mislead your readers.

    Or how about the Obama staff person station at the Rezko Federal trial so good old Barack will know before hand when he is implicated in bad dealings with the Chicago slumlord.

    Or his persistent alignment with Racists and Anti- semites with the likes of Rev. Wright and Lewis Farahkan.

    Or how about this... That this won't be published because maybe somebody has something on CNN giving reason for the one sided hammering of Hillary Clinton. Thank goodness WE the voters have gotten the Idea. Even if Hillary isn't nominated your boy Obama is going to be dog food for the Republicans Or maybe that's what CNN really wants.


    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Jay Shah Chicago, IL

    This is comical. The media is just piling on now. Hillary Clinton has lost all credibility and if she were president, I would never trust what she would tell the american people. She is the democratic equilavent of the very secretive Bush Administration.

    Everybody please wake up and choose the candidate that stands for integrity and morality: Barack Obama

    You never have to worry about him being fake, he is the epitomy of a truly genuine person. That is what I want in my next president.

    April 6, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. bill

    what else is new. Hillary lying again to try and reach out to voters. I wonder what else she has lied about.... probably everything. We have had enough lying done by the current president I do not think i can handle another president that uses false statements to fulfill their agenda.

    April 6, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Robert

    A pathological liar, a warmonger, and an idealist. Hilary Clinton came under fire (from the news media not snipers) for her comments over embellished stories of foreign relations experience. Now she is withdrawing a story from a stump speech becuase it is not true. I can't decide which is more frightening all of the lies or that Americans forget the lies and allow her to joke about it on a national television with no repercussions (i.e., sniper fire in Burbank, Ca.).
    On the other hand John McCain is not extremely conservative for a Republican yet his stance on the Middle East may lead us to an Armageddon that Georgie Jr. started.
    Lastly, I pray Barack Obama is truly as Ideal as he promises to be, that he can actually effect change, and that race is not an issue in deciding this election. Otherwise a recession in our nation is the least of our worries.

    April 6, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Debbie, RN from Lexington,Kentucky

    As a long time Nurse this problem occurs more frequently than what people know. With the economy failing and more people losing jobs or being forced to take jobs without insurance to support their families, the amount of individuals and families without insurance is rising. Hardworking, regular everyday people don't have access to medications and needed medical treatment because of the rising cost of healthcare. Even those that have jobs which provide insurance, many can't afford because of the rising cost of employee paid portion. As the cost of insurance goes higher, the benefit coverage decreases. If the presidental candidates truly have an interest in what is happening in everyday America, they should spend a day with me at my hospital and see what actually is occuring. The Kentucky primary is coming up and this would be the perfect opportunity to actually have knowledge of the real issues affecting everyday people.

    April 6, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Jack

    Another example of the media piling on Hillary Clinton and protecting Obama's "misstatements"....

    The pro-Obama media does not learn.... the piling on didn't work before N.H., it didn't work before Super Tuesday, it didn't work before Super Tuesday II (Ohio and TX).....

    a lot of Hillary supporters will turn to McCain if Obama and his surrogates in the media cruise him to the nomination w/o scrutiny

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

    All I can say is Vote for McCain!!!!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. AER

    Another example of the media's campaign against Hillary.

    I refuse to contribute to the Obama wealth, so I will not buy his book. Can someone tell me how much drug use is in his past, whether the hypocrite will resume smoking cigarettes when he becomes President and whether the self-admitted "knucklehead" ever paid back the $300,000 subsidy his criminal friend gave him for the purchase of his home?

    Yes, this man is an excellent example for the children of the USA- not. Why stop at President? Let's nominate him to be God of the USA. With all his religious ardor, it looks like that is the job he really wants.

    You have to be kidding to vote for him. Within 4 years, you will regret the Obama vote just as the Nation regrets voting for Bush.

    It's Clinton or McCain for me. I prefer the devil I know over the devil I don't know.

    April 6, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Scott

    This is just what she needed, another one of her emotional stories to prove false.

    I can see the poll numbers falling already.

    You can't believe anything she says...

    Go Obama

    April 6, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Mandy, California

    I agree with lacey. She should have confirmed it first or said it was a possibility...not list it as fact when it was not.

    She is hurting her campaign with these "mis-statements".

    April 6, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Evonne Parkins

    CNN this again is a non issue. Hillary was given the info and retold the story. HOW MANY PEOPLE do you think this is true of in a country where health care is so managed by insurance companies?
    Is this as important as some one supporting Big Oil by voting with Bush and then saying he is not supported by Oil?

    April 6, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Cincinnati Nurse

    What scares me most is all of the people who are going "Hillary" bash yet again about a something Hillary was told and believed to be true are so ignorant of this fact. The hospital needs to be asked if the woman who died and her baby had Health Insurance that covered Obstetrical Care. So many people in America are so ignorant about insurance. They pay their hard earned money for insurance that doesn't cover the care that they need and if this woman was a worker in a pizza parlor she probably paid for care that only covered catostrophic care.

    So, CNN and all you out there who bash Hillary for a story SHE didn't lie about, better get more details on the facts. The woman in the story probably had health insurance, but a policy so minimum that it didn't cover her pregnancy nor the birth of her child. Take it from someone who know and works in the Industry.

    Shame on you, CNN for the spin you've placed on this when you even have documented proof that she was told the information and why would she have reason to doubt it.....because it was true and the woman didn't have the insurance to cover the care that she needed!

    Get all the facts!

    Hillary on the Hill in 08!

    April 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. GM from MN

    You would think that Hillary would make her campaign Check on the Facts before she goes out and tells stories

    April 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Jess

    This doesn't surprise me one bit...when I first heard her tell this story I questioned it then. Being in the medical field, I thought it highly unlikely that someone in this woman's condition would not be treated because she had no insurance, This is part of the problem with our healthcare system. We DO treat those without insurance and then we ( the tax payers) have to foot the bill. This is just one more example of the deceit and lies that people are sick of in our politicians today!

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Will

    I voted for Clinton in our state primary in early February. I am dumb struck by her repeated foot and mouth disease. And quite frankly all the political fader between the Clinton and Obama camps and supports, is her own fault. I still think she would make a much better President than Obama but if she looses the nomination she will have nobody but herself to blame.

    April 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Lora B.

    My 22 year-old nephew has no insurance and had a $5,000 medical bill from a hospital emergency room. The hospital told my sister that if the bill wasn't paid, he would not be allowed to come back, period.

    No doubt the story is true and the hospital is trying to cover their butt.

    April 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. unity 08

    Lies, lies, lies after lies. Clinton will do anything to get elected. C'mon PA let's end this race before we get bombarded by another lies.

    OBAMA 08

    April 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. AER

    One more thing – who is checking the truth of what CNN reports? We all tend to believe everything it reports as fact.

    CNN reporting can be one big fat lie to corrupt the outcome of the election. Who would be the wiser?

    The story can be true and the name of the ALLEGED hospital reported was in error. If she never mentioned which hospital, then where is the PROOF it was a lie?

    April 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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