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. T Baker

    I think it's possible Hilary Clinton could have heard this story from someone else, and through an error in judgment didn't follow up with fact checking before using it in her stump.
    I do think it's quite funny, however, that her 'words' are being scrutinized – after all, it was Hilary who wanted to make words a factor in this campaign ... insisting that they (words) hold great weight when her opponent misuses them.
    The only thing funnier than Hilary getting called out on her (mis)use of words is the idiotic responses of the people who cry 'media conspiracy' every time something negative comes out about Hilary.
    Hilary made the 'words' bed ... time to lay in it.

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Fed_up2

    This woman has completely striped herself of any integrity she ever had: If she ever had any at all. She has become a disgrace to the Democratic party. Sad indeed. Very sad.

    April 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Andante D.

    What do you expect? Hilllary will use anything to exagerate, distort out of proportion for her selfish aim. Whatever comes out of her mounth is a lie. She is not to be trusted.

    April 6, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Jerry, Florida

    Senator Clinton DID NOT lie! She repeated a sad story as it was relayed to her. I know Senator Obama's supporter is going to pounce on this issue. And, as always, distort the truth for Obama's benefit. These tragedies do happen, probably on a daily basis.

    If Senator Obama wants to run a real squeaky clean campaign, he should instruct his supporters to stop stretching the truth and stop talking out of both sides of their moths. They claim to want to run a clean campaign, but in actuality, Senator Obama's campaign is anything but.

    H should also instruct his mouth pieces to show some respect for his opponents. Somehow the media ignores most of the idiotic comments by senator Obama as well as his spokespeople. The comment about Senator McCain is one such example. And yet the media nit picks anything Senator Clinton and Senator McCain say or do.

    Don’t forget Senator Obama’s Teflon is starting to wear off.

    April 6, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. jeremy

    yet another lie by clinton.

    April 6, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Susy Struble

    I don't know what to believe these days– these politicians!

    April 6, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. stephen

    It's weird how news outlets attack Obama about the company he keeps, although never doing any wrong himself. BUT Hilary time after time has made false statement (whole stories) yet her credibility is never in question, she can just say I dont remember or I wont use that anymore, while Obama is forced to denounce others statements and relationships.

    April 6, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Jim

    A politician that lies? I would not have believed it...

    Billary is part of the super rich in this country. Nothing wrong with money, but that much of it tends to warp one's perception of the world and one's sense of entitlement.


    April 6, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. J A McErlean, MD

    There is existing federal legislation – nicknamed "EMTALA" – which "prohibits any health care facility receiving federal funding (in other words, every hospital in America) from denying service on the basis of race, creed, color, or ability to pay." There is no ER in the USA that will deny entry to any patient (which is why so many of them are unprofitable), as any hospital knows full well that it would face stiff state and federal sanctions if they ever did so. The chief architect of Hillarycare in 1993-94 surely knows this. Seems she just inserted this false sob-story to advance her own agenda, namely that hospitals and doctors are evil and must be brought to accountability by a higher moral authority, who would be none other than Hillary herself. Keep shining the light on her many lies and "mis-statements." The sooner the Democratic National Committe dumps her as a growing liability, the better. Mc Cain should be eating this up!

    April 6, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. ike in Atlanta

    Please give her a break.
    Just another misspeak!

    April 6, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Sarah Smith

    It is totally fitting

    that Hillary construct her own demise

    April 6, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Inês F

    Well, that 3AM ad just has the wrong target.. If I was a insomniac toddler I'd certainly call Clinton... for a bedtime story.

    I she gets elected, I certainly hope she'll check her facts much more thoroughly. Otherwise the whole world will soon have reason enough to start crying too.

    April 6, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    She will stoop even lower than this-wait and see.
    She and Bil have no conscience at all. They have ALWAYS cared only about themselves.

    April 6, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Michele from OH

    People, are you kidding me? CNN is unfortunately not giving the whole story here. She NEVER made up this story. She NEVER lied. She was told the story by a deputy sheriff in Meigs County, OH, and there is VIDEO of her being told the story word for word by the deputy himself. She was only RETELLING the story as he had heard it by one of the woman's close relatives. She never fabricated or embellished any of the story. I dare any of you Obama supporters to look up the video of that deputy's story, then come back here and tell me that Clinton lied or made it up. Why would she doubt this man's story? He himself was on television telling it to her!! I am so, so sick of only selective things being printed about Hillary to make her look bad and having people then criticize her for it when they do not know the whole truth. Please CNN post my comment, because it is not fair for this story to be printed in this way.

    April 6, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. KF from LC

    Ferry tale teller not president.
    Not buying anymore her false stories, I'm now for Obama..................

    Of course you're for Obama, Brad....you don't even know how to spell FAIRY tale...it's the ignorance spoken by people like you that make people look down on this country.

    If you're going to take a stab at Hillary, make sure you know how to spell.

    April 6, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |

    Presidential Candidates should really "check " the story before
    "blasphemy of a renouned hospital" is publicized on National
    Television. Hillary has plenty of campaign staffers that could have
    simply called to "verify" the story with the hospital. Thereford, another lie.

    Obama 2008

    April 6, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. jimia

    Why would anyone ever want to put the Clintons back in the White House? Both are liars who crave power and are very polarizing to the country. I hope and pray she never gets elected!

    April 6, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Chris California

    Do we not see a pattern from Clinton – she instilled the world with fears and misinformed 'tragic' stories in order to win over people with fragile emotions. Shame on her. She is just Ms. Negative.

    On the other hand, Obama has been inspiring. He talks of hopes and changes that we all want and believe in.

    My conclusion, Clinton will bring even more negative energy to Washington, which we do not need. She needs to drop out.

    April 6, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |

    SHAME ON CNN AND MSNBC FOR REPORTING THIS GARBAGE. This is trash not news. Hillary should leave the democratic party and tell them to kiss her butt. I am a CLINTON DEMOCRAT and I will not vote for Obama because of his supporters and the media. Over 12 million Hillary supporters will vote for McCain in the fall and thats over half of the democratic party. Obama can't win without Hillary supporters. Hillary supporters are the true democrats and obama supporters are independents and republicians.


    April 6, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. JFK2008

    Congratulations to all those who are now SWITCHING from Hillary to Obama. Where were you when she WAS in the Whitehouse (and Bill was in the Oval Office)? She should have never gotten this far except for the non-informed of the voting public. However, as the old saw goes; How can you tell when a politician is lying?? (When his/her lips are moving.)

    April 6, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Tim in NY

    It amazes me people still "drink the kool-aid" where Hillary is concerned. If I can't trust her with simple facts in a speech how can I or anyone trust here to Lead this Country?

    Who would she be lying to then? Us? Foreign Powers?

    How long before all of these "promises" she's made to get there would be broken?

    Her campaign is pathetic.....or she is but either way they both keep dropping the ball.

    I'd write in Mickey Mouse before I'd vote for her.

    April 6, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. Tobias

    Perhaps Obama should pull his ads that falsely claim he doesn't take money from oil companies or lobbyists. Or perhaps he should recind his stories about his father's connection to JFK and his parents and the Selma peace march. Let's see he could correct his statement on his nuclear legistlation as well. He does nothing but lie and yet people don't seem to care. This guy is nothing more then an empty suit hypocrit. His entire campaign is based on fraud. I'm tired of his lies. The most qualified candidate is Senator Clinton. I don't base my vote on one speech and one vote and that's all this guy has. Wake up people.

    April 6, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. jim

    All the "Republicans that are spewing all this hate toward Sen. Clinton, know if they can't get obama to run against in nov, they will loose in a land slide. It seems like to me the Republicans are realy running scared, because they will look realy bad when Hillary steam rollers over MCcain.

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. nicholas

    What has Obama dropped form his stump speeches? If you think the republications are not counting the Obama mis-spokes then you are terribly wrong and headed towards a large disappointment should Obama be the nominee.

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Alice

    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.

    Look at the problems with medicare. Our Government needs to figure out how to lower the cost of health care!

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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