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. EAK

    There is a law called EMTALA that specifically requires all hospitals to treat persons who present to the emergency room, and even has a provision for a woman in labor. The fine for not doing so is extraordinary, so I highly doubt this person was turned away, even if she did not have insurance. I do not disagree that our healthcare system needs extensive reforms, but this story is simply outrageous.

    April 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Terry

    My dad had lung cancer and never smoked a day in his life. He had full medical insurance coverage from his company and guess what...
    he still died!

    That woman could have had FREE insurance coverage and she and her bay may still have died.

    April 6, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Edd

    If we are goin to analyze every word, every situation in her campaign, we will never move on! She has alot of experience and expertise to offer! Let's forget these trivial things and move on!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY! Obama supporters are like high school kids, she says this, says that???? ENOUGH!!!! I will never vote for an amateur! NEVER!

    April 6, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Guy

    Why is an uninsured woman planning to have a baby in the first place?!

    April 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Survivor: 00/08 (didn't vote 4/Bush)

    Go to your local Hospital, tell them you have no medical insurance. see for yourself what kind of treatment you receive!

    April 6, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. navyvet48

    Here in Kansas I know a similar thing exists. My former neighbor had no insurance. She was pregnant. If she had gone to the hospital on her own they wouyld not accept her. So when she was ready to give birth she was transported by ambulance. Pregnancy is not a disease nor is it an emergency so they do not have to accept you.

    Adn here is a worse story than that a veteran was transported to a VA Center for an emergency situation. It turns out the VA Center had no ER. The EMTs actually dropped this man off the stretcher. The only person that came out to check on him was a non-medical person. The veteran died right outside oa VA Center in Oregon I believe.

    I am sure Hillary's campaign tried to vet the story but Privacy Rights prevail. I know about privacy concerns because my privacy rights were violated by my therapist at the Vet Center in Wichita, KS. I know more than I want to.

    April 6, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Josh

    Hillary says whatever she has to to get the people to like her. Her most rousing speeches are usually the ones where she attacks the current administration. Come to think of it, most of her speeches are anti-Bush or anti-Obama.

    Hillary is like a flag in the wind. She flutters in the direction the public opinion goes, and every time it changes, so does she.

    April 6, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. kim

    Did anyone check to see if there is really a sherrif ? LOL

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Dave

    Anybody who believes any of the candidates example stories in their stump speeches are accurate in every detail and haven't been expanded or interpreted to support their politcial message probably still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Gerard P. Roth

    It wasn't long ago Hillary was your hero. When are you Democrats going to wake up.

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Chris - WI

    Who cares. This isn't even news.

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. ok

    Even though I believe that Hillary Clinton likes to lie to boost her credentials, I think this particular misrepresented story from Hillary was a mistake that is not her fault. A video has been shown where a supporter was recounting the story to Hillary before she started using the story on the stump. So nobody should blame her for telling that story because she did not make it up. She heard it from a supporter.

    I think we should, however, hold Hillary accountable for the BOSNIA lie because it is evidence that there is something pathological about her lies. She told that BOSNIA story at least 3 times which means that she told a lie, believed in it, and mislead the American people. We do not need such a leader after what has happened with this current administration that has told les, believed in them, and acted on them. It is either Obama or no one else.

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. karen

    cnn it's so funny to me that you failed to identify the individual that told clinton the story was the town's sherriff, when are you going to get back to being fair and balance why is it that fox news of all network is the only one that told the whole story and the only one to talk to the sheriff and get him to verify that he did indeed tell her the story, you ought to be ashamed of yourelves. i'm sure you will block this but you still have to reead it first so my job is done, do yous.

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. TheLeftNut


    Moving on...

    April 6, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Barbara

    It is a shame that someone told her a story that was not true. If in fact her people tried to confirm it and could not because of medical confidentiality laws then maybe they should have tried to confirm it with the woman's relatives. But, I can't go along with saying Mrs. Clinton is lying. That would mean she knew the story was not true.

    April 6, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Bill Blanco

    Shame on you HIllary. Don't you know that only the news media are allowed to spread stories using questionable facts, unsubstantiated evidence and unreliable sources? And then report it as God's truth. Your qualifications for president are suspect. However, if you want to run a major news network, you are a sure bet.

    April 6, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Rich in Seattle

    So for all of those who said she has been "Vested", they don't take into consideration all the new stupid stuff the Clinton's will do!

    She will do anything and say anything to win. At this point, she's more Republican than a Democrat.

    April 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. clbrune oregon

    Did anyone who is whining that Clinton lied even bother to read the story?

    Could CNN use a more misleading headline?

    Clinton was told a story and talked about it. That's not a lie, that's saying "someone told me this story..."

    It's not like she plagiarized...or claimed to be a professor...or made up five different stories about Canada/NAFTA (are those familiar, Obama fans?)

    April 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Ralph

    um she didnt make this story up people.

    They have a video of a police officer telling her this.

    you can say she made this up but actually look into it

    April 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Jacquie

    How is possible that a woman of her education, age and experience
    has become a pathological liar? She isn't grounded and doesn't walk in her own shoes, but tells somebody else their stories. She doesn't know the difference between phantasy abd reality!
    I'm so astonished, you Americans are talking about her experiences.
    It is obvious she use others their experience! Even false.
    Please come to your senses.

    April 6, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Tamika

    I completely understand and commend the Clinton supporters for standing by their candidate thru thick and thin, good and bad.. even after controversal lies..but at some point you really need to take a hard look at this woman. Do some research here..(CNN would shock me by posting this)..just google Clintons and scandals! you could learn alot more from her past(it actually would only refresh the memory because clinton scandals are well known and documented, but just "forgotten") People are throwing the Rev situation in the electablility pot thinking that the Republicans will eat him alive with it and he COULD not win... BUT..once the Rep's get a hold of the scandles these clintons have been involved in past and present?
    Pah-leese!..Be real. Be honest. These people have been and continue to be dirty and are not worthy of the die-hard support they are receiving. I can almost gar-un-tee that Sen Obama's camp has a drawerfull of trinkets they'd like to pull out about Sen Clinton.. but respect for her, his campaign, and Democratic Party.. he wont!.. He could have put her away after the second (real) primary with just the GATE attached scandals alone!..

    April 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. OlvrWhit

    Hold up a second, this is not a Clinton lie. This is Clinton re-telling a story told to her on the campaign trail..Should we now go back a vet all stories people are told on the road..How many will be 100% accurate. Facts are, this women did die. Her baby did die. Is the hospital covering its butt, I am sure.

    April 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Molly Auden

    Looks like her chances of winning the nomination are getting slimmer and slimmer. To be fair, CNN, I agree that the reporting of this issue is slightly disingenuous. It seems that she didn't make up the story, but believed it a little too easily. There is a moral distinction. But the headline and first paragraph imply out-and-out lies.
    That said, however, I agree that Clinton's credibility is likely damaged beyond repair.
    Let us hope that the alleged falseness of this story won't cloud the need for better health care for all Americans.

    April 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. debra

    Hillary had nothing to do with this, but of coarse the bobamabots are exagerating the truth as usual. Bobama lied about all his credentials but bobamabots only hear what they want. I am just waiting for the bobamabots to try and say how horrible Clinton is for donating 10% of their income to charity. According to the bobamabots she is such a terrible person. Right. Actions speak louder than words.

    April 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. What???

    What are you people thinking? If your a Hillary supporter then its "well its partially true" and if your an Obama Supporter then is "this is a total lie". Truth be told it may have happened in some way or shape but Hillary needs to get her stories straight. Do talk about something if you dont have the facts straight. The Obama campaign on the otherhand needs to make sure they are presenting the entire truth, especially if they are going to bash Hillary about this. Now the Bosnia thing is an entirely different animal. That was a huge lie. I am a retired Army NCO and I tell you, after serving in Iraq, I KNOW what happened every time my life was in danger. No person has to remind me of what happened. She was lying and she knew it. If you had to run with your head down because of snipers, its something you never forget. She embellished the story to gain sympathy and support. She wanted to make herself seem more important in her husbands administration than she really was.
    I hope all of this lying and fighting doesnt result in 4 more years of stupidity in office. WE Americans need to make a clear choice based on the issues, not stories. If McCain is the best candidate let him prove it by presenting his side of the issues against the Dems side. Lets not elect him because the two Dems destroyed each other! If the issues are presented by both sides, then the best candidate should rise to the top.

    April 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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