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. sam

    I am tired of CNN. Everyone knows CNN is campaingning for Obama. Sadly they hardly post my comments coz I am pro-Hillary. Let's see if this one gets posted. OK CNN, I am not sure how is this the headline news on CNN. Did Hillary lied in this case? Definately not!!! Did one of her campaign staff made up a story and lied? YES! so, what's her fault her. She is not like OBAMA coying someone else's speech. She is making her own story based on the fact provided to her.

    April 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. dan

    The story was essentially true-she was turned away and did die and lose the baby-just not at the one hospital where she finally died. This is another one of those-get Clinton stories that is a non-story. She didn't name the hospital. Obama gets a walk on big lies–Clinton's speeches are parsed to the smallest detail. I wonder whose doing the research?

    April 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. cathy

    Any student of the Clintons must read Machiavelli's The Prince. "The ends justify the means" is the Clinton motto. In thier arrogance they believe that it is so necessary that they are elected that they employ any matter to do it.

    April 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. jlu2thdr

    There are PLENTY...of stories out there of people who have no insurance..WHY OH WHY then must Hillary make these up. Is she a pathological liar??i.e. Someone who just cannot tell the truth?? This does not bode well for the country and for her. My oh my!

    April 6, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    oh come on people. I'm not a Hillary supporter, but give me a break. She was given story. She included it as an example of a problem. You THI k she had time to go out and personally check out all the facts? To me, this is much different than sitting under the teaching of an anti-American pastor for 20 years. She got some bad information from her people. Obama made a conscious decision to accept dangerous indoctrination–for 20 years.

    This is just logical people. And I'm not voting for either one. But let's be fair.

    April 6, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Francy

    It is time for Mrs Clinton to drop out of the race before she completely discredits the Democratic party and has longtime supporters flee to the Republican party for many years to come hurting not only this women in Ohio but many many more nationwide!!!

    April 6, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. WL Lewis

    Never been a fan of the Clinton's, but I always gave them the benefit of my doubts about their truthfulness. NO MORE! The "hospital story" was bad, but her speech in Memphis observing MLK. . . That was not to be believed. She "hurled"(?) her book bag across the room? Book bags in 1968? Tears? What garbage!

    April 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. j.epstein


    April 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. yc

    this is not about lie, it is about judgment.

    April 6, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Jan Marie

    I would have to question the accuracy of the hospital, as this is
    not the first time this has happend to someone. Why would this woman lie, I would believe the woman over the hospital.

    April 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. v.ananthan


    April 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. King

    The truth is that no matter how clever any human wants to be, without innertransformation the old devil will always manifest itself. The Clintons have not yet been transformed, they need it or they will continue to disgrace themselves in the public. Pls somebody shuold help these canal family to come clean. They need Jesus not the whitehouse.

    April 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Chris11

    I have trouble believing that the story is not true. Of course the hospital would deny turning a patient away, especially one that later dies due to complications that could have been prevented. Without exact proof of what happen, Clinton has to drop the story, but I bet there is more truth to it than not. The system always cheats the little guy, and the big guy gets away with murder.

    April 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Johnny, FL

    It is not enough to just say you now "drop hospital story from stump speech".

    HRC owes big apologies to the american people she has been fooling for so long with her bogus stories and lies.

    A liar does not deserve to be the President of the United States of America. Period !

    April 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Mike, Toronto

    The media must love the Clintons, and this is probably why Hillary is still in the race; can you imagine any other candidate raising so many controvercies?

    April 6, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Sean

    I've done a lot of hiring in my career, and if I ever discovered that an applicant had falsified the work and resume they submitted, and then lied to me in the interview about the extent of their experience, I simply wouldn't hire them. Something that doesn't seem to get mentioned is that when you take credit for something you didn't do, you're stealing that credit from the person or people who actually did the work. In my industry, getting caught doing this typically results in getting blacklisted because it shows that you're an unethical, untrustworthy individual. I apply the same standards to Presidential candidates, and Hillary needs to be blacklisted.

    April 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Reece

    If someone told her the story, then she (or whoever) should have checked the facts. What kind of POTUS is she going to make? A yes woman, who just takes the word of other people without checking facts? Maybe...

    On the other hand, she could be just lying again. Which makes me even more sure that I will not vote for her.

    OBAMA FOR POTUS '08!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Anna, SW Missouri

    The most appalling thing about Hillary's use of this story is that IF she had really believed that it was true, then why didn't she call for an immediate investigation by the state, and by the congress?

    Hospitals that receive federal funding such as medicare are not allowed to turn away patients in the way that she states. This is why so many hospitals are in such dire financial crisises. If the hospital would have done what she said it did, the hospital would have been fined at least $50,000 for just that one incident. If that was a common practice, it would have been fined $50,000 for EACH incident, lost its federal funding and accredidation!

    Hillary Cllinton, as a US Senator, and the great policy wonk of health care, would know that!

    The second appalling part of the lie was that she lead people to believe that if they do not have $100 or insurance, then why bother going to the hospital because they will just be turned away!!!

    The third appalling thing is that she has insulted all of the nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff and grouped them all into a stereotype of uncaring healthcare system, instead of addressing the fact that the insurance companies and special interests and congress, of which she is a part of, are responsible for the fact that we do not have universal health care.

    April 6, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. colo

    CNN your news are nothing, but pathetic. I have never seen a newspaper reporting like you have done throughout this whole champagne.
    Anything you can possible use to slander the Clintons, you use.
    You have lost a tremendous amount of respect.

    Of course you're not going to post this comment either. I am just going to save it among the 50 comments I have posted (That you have refused to post) objective to Obama.
    No matter what you do CNN you are NOT going to chose our next President. We are a lot smarter than that. You'll see.

    Go Hillary.

    April 6, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. JF

    Many of these comments are about Hillary, but this is about HEALTHCARE. Since when is "right and wrong" more valuable then helping to save lives?

    What happen to the young woman and her baby continues to happen in this country, are we all too blind to notice? We need to pay more attention to the people around us, then Hillary's stories. SEE THE STORIES OURSELVES! Or do we only care about Hillary, Obama, and McCain? Aren't they suppose to be earning a position to SUPPORT all of US, as American citizens? Is that suppose to make everything they do more important than our own everyday lives? We are all EQUAL, so our lives are just as important as theirs, no matter what position they are running for. This story is more important than "right or wrong" because either way it still happens to many Americans each day, but obviously we are all too busy bashing which ever President nominee we don't like to pay attention to other American citizens, who suppose to be OUR EQUALS!

    April 6, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. liz

    Before you start accusing Clinton of lying about this incident, you don't know what was told to her and why she repeated it. If it was made up by the person telling her then its that person who is at fault not her. Also, hospitals like to cover up things as well that shows them discriminating against people without health insurance. Clinton was only repeating what she was told and therefore she cannot be blamed for any errors that were made.

    They will look for and find anything negative against Clinton. When are we going to hear the good things that she has done for people. Why are you people so negative. Obama is no saint and I wish you people would also see his faults because I am sure he has many. He is such a fake...he is too good to be true. I am sure sometime soon in the future, we will hear about things which will show that he is not that perfect person that you all think he is. Anyway, Clinton just stay strong.

    April 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. bill

    If the media spent equal time reviewing Obama "stories" he would be revealed for who he is too. But we will just see another cute bowling story, and then another attack on clinton.

    More free ride time for Obama. We won't find out about him until November when it is too late.

    April 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Diane

    It's unfortunate you bloggers don't look at the whole story. She was told the "no insurance" story by the Sheriff deputy. They have video of the story. You would think the man would not lie about this story but apparently did. Does she have to check every story told to her? Obama on the other hand lies that he does not take money from gas companies, oh that's right it's just the people who run the gas companies that he takes money from. Which is worse, duh

    April 6, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Mark

    Look, I'm an Obama supporter, but Clinton did nothing wrong here. It was a story she heard while on her tour, she reported it as it was given to her, and when it turned out to be false she stopped using it.

    However, this kind of situation is still one that is possible with the medical system as it is. So Clinton's point is still valid, that the system needs changing. Both Democratic candidates believe that.

    So please, Obama supporters. Calm down on the Clinton lying stuff. Sure, it might be true on other stories, but it doesn't really apply here.

    April 6, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Andrea

    Hillary is a bold face liar all around. We are tired of this type of politics from her and the Republicans. It is an obvious choice, vote for OBAMA
    it is a change that we can truly believe in, honesty, at least. She lies about everything... just listen to her, or better yet don't listen, it'll be another lie. I believe she even lied about her taxes!

    April 6, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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