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. Colony14 author

    What makes the Clintons lie even when obviously unnecessary? Surely there are more than a handful of true stories about indigents who die because of inadequate medical care. Why must she make up tales? She used to say she was named after Mount Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary. After it was pointed out that she was born before he even climbed the mountain and became famous, she dropped that story. But why was it necessary in the first place? Why would it matter how her parents chose her name?

    Someone who would lie about inconsequential matters certainly also lies about consequential matters. Don't allow this shriek in the White House.

    Then again, as one from the Chicago area who knows the real stories about Barack Obama, I wouldn't want him in the White House either. (He's a liar as well, but he does it more gracefully than Hillary.)

    So that leaves McCain, who is too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives. What's a person who believes in limited government and the U.S. Constitution to do?

    April 6, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. fred

    now wake up people heres the second lie she told in less than two weeks. we dont kneed anyone like this

    April 6, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Ryan

    I'm from Athens, Ohio and I wouldn't be surprised to hear about O'bleness not treating a pregnant woman. The story may or may not be true but it wouldn't surprise me none the less. They misdiagnose people all the time there. That hospital is full of self-centered, un-educated doctors that don't know what they're doing.

    April 6, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Larry

    The only thing worse than Hillary Healthcare would be an Obamanation.

    April 6, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Becky

    Im an obama supporter and I do not think that this is her fault. She believed the voter that told her the story...HOWEVER, Bosnia, Ireland and trying to steal FL and MI ARE major marks against her character and why she is going to loose to McBush.

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

    If that particular story isn't true, there are still thousands like that one that is. That's why Hillary had no reason to doubt the story–it rang true. I live in MD, near DC, and stories like this are in the paper all the time. An ambulance is forced to drive on to another hospital because the first one they go to won't treat the patient. Then these second choice hospitals fold because they don't get any money for treating the uninsured.

    You can vote for whoever you want, but I really wish people would apply the same standard to both candidates. How is this any different than Obama claiming authorship of legislation he neither wrote nor worked on? Or the lie about his connection to the Kennedy family? Or the lie about the questionnaire he never saw, but that had his handwriting all over it. Both candidates have their fair share of explaining to do, but I get so angry when people hold Obama to a lower standard of truthfulness. THAT'S racism!

    April 6, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. ASJ from Rotterdam, Holland

    From here across the ocean, it certainly seems like mrs. clinton is a very talented liar

    April 6, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. wiscon

    Well even if she was lying, we still need government health care. Our government runs the education in this country and look how wonderful that is.

    April 6, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Ex-Clinton supporter

    I was just wondering why Sen. Clinton had more news filed under her name in the Politicalticket, and I have come to the conclusion that it was about a large percentage of news that constituted lies she told on the campaign trail. As a Clinton supporter, I am firmly bowing out of her support. I dont see her winning, She is fake trust me., Good a thing this came before my Penn election. My next advise is that another Clinton supporters should rub that scale out of their eyes, they are not supporting a truthful leader, pleaseee, She is really fake,
    Hearing this news, I am now an ex-Clinton going for the Barack Obama.

    April 6, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Sheila

    The problem with some of these stories is the way they are first told or reported in the press. I would be vetting the story before I used it in my campaign. What the heck are Hillary's advisors doing? Oh, that's right, lobbying trade agreements on behalf of foreign governments.. ooops.. She needs to dump that guy. As an Obama supporter, if he somehow doesn't get the nomination, I'll still vote for Hillary cause in the end, she will be much better than the alternative. It's not always about us and voting the opposite because we are angry. We have to think about the republicans continuing to stack the federal and Supreme Courts. Read the book " What's the matter with Kansas..The entire RW platform is right there..

    April 6, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Danny

    Oh...........what about Obama? he lied same thing read the ABC news.

    Did you see the guy told Hillary that's the lady didn't have insurance that's
    why Hillary talk about that in her speech.

    Read the story first before you said it people.

    Go Hillary 08.

    April 6, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. jw, canadian,ok

    CNN – why are you giving Obama a free ride?

    April 6, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Larry. San Diego, Ca

    CNN, you are so blatent in your anti-Hillary bias. You have lost all credibility. You have become the Obama network. This is the last time on your website and watching your TV news.

    April 6, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Anyone but Obama!

    It’s weird how all of you Obama supporters are telling Hillary to drop out of the race and then Obama comes to the rescue and says that she can stay in the race as long as she wants. This is a case of good cop, bad cop. You say that Obama is change and he never goes negative. Well, he relies on his supporters to do all the dirty work for him, so that he can later act innocent. Sorry to tell you all, but he is just like every politician. You all really need to stop spreading lies when you say that he is change.

    April 6, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Alex (from Ohio)

    When are Clinton supporters going to open their eyes? Whether she lied or not she lacks poor judgement, she didn't look into the facts of this story just like she didn't read the report about Iraq. She is desperate, and if you don't see that you are truly blind. She didn't want to look into this story, she just wanted a story to tell for her gain. It doesn't matter what Hillary does it seems, it is funny to watch her supporters try to justify this and distract from it. CNN you are doing a great job don't listen to there supporters, I invite you to expose all of the candidates, bc I am confident when you do expose Clinton, people cannot refuse to see the truth.

    April 6, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Scott in La Jolla

    I'm not sure the media is showing a bias toward Obama on this one. HRC's Bosnia "mis-remember" (a confabulation that, if unintended, does causes this reader to question Mrs. Clinton's ability to accurately recall details of her own history) inevitable gets the press curious about other potential misrepresentations and/or "unfacts" that Hillary may have used during her campaign. So, I don't really see this as bias. Is this false "if only she had good health care" story really, that meaningful? Not really. I think it does reinforce a perception among some that Hillary is dishonest and has a myopic tendencies modulated by the concerns of primary state voters.

    What I wonder, what I really do wonder, is why I keep hearing that BO and Clinton are "neck and neck", "Toe to toe" in this "close race" that is "essentially tied". Even Hillary supporters acknowledge that her chances of actually earning the nomination are slim. Any thoughts?

    April 6, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Bill

    It's amazing to me that anyone would be ignorant enough to actually support Mrs. Clinton. Obama is a much better liar.

    April 6, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. GLORIA


    April 6, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Josh, MA

    Obama: Soldiers are using Afghan weapons to fight.
    Clinton: I was under sniper fire.
    Obama: I did not know my pastor said those things.
    Clinton: Pregnant women and their babies dying because of lack of insurance.

    Good job democrats! This election is nearly handed to you and yet you have two liars competing for the job.

    April 6, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Tracy

    Interesting that the Clinton backers are having a harder and harder time defending her and her lies.

    April 6, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. breh/ California

    Where does it end? Mrs. Clinton is determine to be branded as a liar and one who plays fancy with the truth. I think she's been married to Bill to long and it's rubbed off on her. Using the life of an innocent woman to further her political campaign is just wrong. It's becoming an persisitent problem with her.

    April 6, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |

    Hillary did not lie. She simple repeated what a citizen told her. I hate you Obamabots. Hillary have worked all of her adult life trying American Citizens. PLEASE LEAVE HILLARY ALONE.

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Danielle

    Oh please – enough from the Obama supporters. You people are so in denial, it's not even funny.

    The fact is – 47 million in the U.S. have no health care coverage. That's a well known fact.
    Hillary makes a good point with her story.
    The U.S. is the only developed nation that does not provide health care for all its citizens. It's a huge problem.

    Of course the hospital would deny the story. Do any of you who are so quick to denounce Hillary actually know what in fact happened? Or that millions of people are suffering in this country because they have no access to health care?

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Johnathan

    Hilary is a liar who will do anything for votes. This campaign is built on her thought that she is owed the Presidency. Come on Hilary stop putting this election ahead of the country and drop out. The American people have already experienced 8 years of lies from Bush. We don't want another term of the same.

    Onama '08

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Larkin G. Mead

    Yep, the "Drama Queen" and patholigical liar, Hillary Clinton, is at it again. When are the Dems going to wake up and realize that this woman is the most divisive, polarizing figure in American politics and when are New Yorkers going to wake up and dump this woman as their junior senator?

    If I were the CEO of that hospital that Hillary has managed to defame with her lies, I would be seeking legal counsel for the purpose of filing a defamation suit against this mean and nasty woman. She runs around the country, telling lies because she has absolutely no experience that will qualify her for the Presidency.

    Wake up Democratic Party and dump this woman for all time. Americans are tired of her, tired of Bill, tired of Chelsea and we don't need four or eight years of this family occupying the White House.

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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