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. Ricardo Williams

    Here we go again. She didn't get the facts about Iraq and it got us into a war without end that has drained our economy. Now a story as emotional and heartfelt, enough to create a rage to go attack hospitals, except it is false, and she didn't take the time to gather the facts. God help Hilary. She should simmer down and hope for a vice-presidential role. Hopefully she wouldn't ruin that opportunity with all those lies. Wait, maybe we can send her to rehab just to get those lies out of her system first.

    April 6, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Gary

    What really bothers me about this story is that in the long run it really hurts the cause of health care because those that are against universal health care can point to this and say "See, see! there really isn't a problem, it is all made up." This is much more important to the American people in the long run than anyones individual candidacy.
    The issue of health care is very real in the US aand negative stories just hurt the chances of finding a solution.
    Michele above is right. Preventative care is so much cheaper than hospitalization and other emergency care. In Oregon the average cost to taxpayers for un-covered emergency care is $600 per year. In other words we are paying for emergency care but not preventaticve care. One of the raesons we have by far the highest health costs in the world and yet over a third of our citizens are not coverd is that lack. When people aren't covered by insurance they don't go to a doctor until it is an emergency. Then we pay for it.
    There are tens of thousands of stories every year of the problems with inadequate health care. Hillary is not at fault for wanting to find a story that illistrates the tragedy of a country that spends more in health care than any other country yet is way down the list of industrialized countries for coverage.
    What Hillary is at fault for is not verifying the story. She couldn't that stupid as to believe that with all the dirt diggers there are today that the true story won't come out. And as I said, it doesn't harm her as much as it harms the cause of universal health care. Rush and his buddies will go to town with this one!

    April 6, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Brenda from East Texas

    This is NOT Clinton's lie. Someone told Clinton a story that was a lie and I would feel really bad if I was that guy. I just wonder why that wasn't mentioned in the article; only that the story was false. The media is really against Clinton, no doubt about that.

    Hillary '08

    April 6, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Bunny

    I'm wondering if Hillary even knows the difference between the truth and a lie. She is obviously accustomed to saying whatever sounds good to the public regardless of it's truth. When she is speaking, she appears to be totally insincere – just grasping for anything that will convince the public to vote for her.
    She's obviously part of the good ole boy network. Fool as many people as you can as quickly as you can, get elected and let the chips fall where they may.
    I hope any voters who are still being mislead by her "knowledge" and "experience" will wake up and see how she has been distorting the facts.

    April 6, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Your Conscience, CA

    Even the most ardent Hillary supporters with a shred of integrity and honesty must admit in the solemn moment of reflection they have been duped.

    She cannot financially manage her own campaign, she cannot gain momentum without falling over her mistakes, and her honesty is the issue.

    I know it hurts to back someone who failed you and let you down but it is not too late for the Country. Support the Democratic Ticket.

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Ardnuas

    This is how we got into Iraq, SHE believed George Bush WITHOUT checking out the facts for herself !!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 6, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Gwen

    Usually where there's a fire there is at least a little smoke, I'll bet you your health insurance this does happen at for profit hospitals. What's the first thing your asked for when you go to the Dr or the hospital, ugh, the insurance card? So if it didn't happen to this patient exactly as stated, I can promise you it or something similar has happened to someone else. So I don't care if it's a misspeak or not, overall these things are true, at leasts she's bringing them to light. I'm a nurse so don't be shocked by anything that seems unbelievable from the patient's perspective or the healthcare staff's perspective.

    April 6, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Philo Scott

    yet another lie from Hillary. She doesn't need to do this. What is her credibility be like with foreign governments? She seems to have a habit of embellishment and lies, anything to garner power and votes. What would the rest of the world going to do with an untrustworthy lying president?

    April 6, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Joe

    "Where did the notion come from that health care is something that someone else should pay for instead of our taking the responsibility ourselves? No one pays for my food, no one pays for my clothes, no one pays for my housing. Why should I expect someone else to pay for my health care?"
    uh...because it's the Christian thing to do?

    April 6, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. John NJ

    how come media is not digging into Obama's storeis to verify if they are true stories why this CNN/media blindly accept everything Obama says and scrutinise Clinton? Is this means by any means they want to supress Clinton so they can rally behind Obama. Why can't you CNN/Media do the right thing and scrutinise both of them? we wan to know credibility of both not just one of them.

    April 6, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Tim Smith

    Imagine that, one of the Clinton's told a lie. Who would of thunk it?

    April 6, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |

    Wonder, if Obama did the same thing. The wrath of Hillary would
    be unending. Hillary is one of the most hated Women in America.
    Oh, and Ann Coulter.

    Retired Professional White Woman for Obama from Day 1.

    April 6, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Marvin Geer

    The story here is an opportunity CNN to spin the "horrible person" image of Hillary Clinton. Yet in another story where Obama calls McCain a "warmonger" you the reader are given no opportunity to comment.

    Why is that CNN? One sided maybe?

    I invite all you Hillary haters to read the story listed here and judge for yourself. Notice how Obama never admits wrong doing? Notice how the Campaign is quick to say that spokesman has nothing to do with the campaign, yet never admits Obama has called McCain a warmonger? This characterization of McCain is shabby and, fits Obama's character perfectly.

    April 6, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Whuzi

    Bruce J. Cameron, you said this "Where did the notion come from that health care is something that someone else should pay for instead of our taking the responsibility ourselves? No one pays for my food, no one pays for my clothes, no one pays for my housing. Why should I expect someone else to pay for my health care?"

    We are prepared with the fact that we need to eat everyday, and for the most part, we can control the amount of food we need to purchase with our money. Same with clothes. If I want to purchase a $200 pair of jeans...that is ultimately my decision. I'm not expecting anyone to pay those kind of bills for me.

    But nobody chooses when and how much cancer they get. Its not a grocery list...it isn't something you prepare for nor can you control the amount of sickness you're able afford. Whats the point of living in a civilization if nobody wants to contribute to the well being of others?

    April 6, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Raum

    Even if Hillary really did think this story was true, this just shows her lack of responsibility. Is this really a quality we want in our President?

    Shes constantly eating her own words.

    April 6, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. PJ, New York Independent

    Even this story will not help Obama get elected. McCain will win the general election. It will be the biggest landslide in US voting history, just wait and see.

    Even with Hillary's 'lies', I'd still rather have a 'liar' in the White House than an empty suit, racist, anti-American like Obama.

    April 6, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Joe

    Well, it has got to the point where the Cheney News Network is working hard to find anti-clinton stories. It's amazing that we never hear any anti-republican stories now that the Cheney News Network has been scared into not ever saying anything bad about the publicans. Oh, it helps that all the big wigs at CNN are being pressured to make sure that the illegal war, etc, etc is made to look like it is great. As one poster said, it's about the big business health care machine stupid! (I know that I probably won't get posted as you like the Bushs have gotten where you hate to be criticized) Oh, I also like the part where you say the comments will be moderated and that your sorry that all comments cannot be posted. What folks ought to realize is that means that you put the ones up that don't go against yours and the Republicans agenda...... At least I got to type it......

    April 6, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Carlton Groff

    We know the Clinton's have their own idea of truth but it also would be nice if the press had the guts to examine Obama's record too.

    April 6, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. vic nashville,Tn

    I watched in CNN news room last night Rick shows every thing thanks to CNN
    Its clear she didn’t lie
    Other news media showing lot of Obama negative things Why CNN is covering Obama !!! Come on CNN tell the truth to the Your viewers
    Best political team becoming worst !!! CNN losing its credibility
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    April 6, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Judy, PA

    The story can very well have some truth to it. I was threatened with no treatment at a hospital er room while having chest pain with a history of heart attack due to inability to pay and no insurance. However the hospital staff would not release me, over objections of the financial office. This was in Florida.
    But I am an Obama supporter as I feel we need real change in Washington, not more lies of the Clintons or exaggerations of the basic truths. We have had 16 years of this already with the Clintons and Bush administations. The sad thing is, that there are alot of gullible americans who will believe everything certain politicians say.

    Vote Obama "08"

    April 6, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. William Jamison

    Why is everyone here surprised that a political candidate lied? They all do it and if we were to examine Obama and McCain, we would find the same thing.
    It is however clear, that the established Media won't give Clinton a break. That's too bad.

    April 6, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. tigerakabj

    I voted for Obama anyway, but early on I would have voted for Clinton in the general election if she won the nomination. Over the last 3 months, it is crystal clear that she just doesn't belong in the White House, she belongs in the big house and/or nut house. Lies, upon lies, upon lies. His new way of politics notwithstanding, no wonder Obama never went negative. Sooner or later, he knew she would destroy herself, and so she is.

    April 6, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. p.g.

    IN the speech I heard the girl could not pay her co-payment. She never saw the doctor because her co-payments was to high. Her point was that some people have insurance but sill can afford to see a doctor.

    April 6, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. ELM

    Jim 2 said: The Clinton health plan is the correct plan for this nation, and our people. That's what I think. How about you?

    You need to study this issue a little more carefuly. I come from the civilized country in central Europe where the socialized medicine = corruption and the poor people suffer even more. They will not even put you on a kidney machine if you are over 60 years old because the Government cannot afford it. Look at the problems with our medicare. Our Government needs to figure out how to lower the cost of health care first before talking about socialized medicine!

    April 6, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Joe

    Yea I have worked in a hospital for many years. I believe the story is completely accurate. Who in their right mind would write in a patents file that they were denied care at your facility because of money. There is way too much liability in that. If the hospital admits this, they will be sued. Sooo they document some other reason for a denial of care or indicate in the records that the patient did not need the care and move on. Don't ever believe a hospital administrator who has the tacit goal of covering up for the hospital.

    Anyone who has gotten sick without insurance knows how this works. I once got ill and had no insurance. The symptoms would have clearly merited a chest x-ray. Because I did not have insurance they said I didn't need an x-ray. When I had insurance, the same symptoms merited it. They knew my insurance would pay for it, but in the first case knew I probably would not have paid for it.

    April 6, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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