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. Peaches

    First off, i was a huge Hillary supporter. When she announced she was running, i got a lump in my throat I was so proud and happy! Yes, stories like this do happen. BUT.......... Hillary is a huge liar! I am getting so sick of it. The only time she isnt lting is when her mouth is closed. Its getting to be a bit much. Sniper fire? Experience? She is not an honest person. For those of you who say this current administration lies... Well yes, they have! But Hillary is lying for sport and it doesnt stop. I have watched her in action and her face does this weird creepy thing when she is lying. 🙂

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Ryan

    >"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?"<

    Who pays the cops that protect you? Who pays for those roads you drive to work? Who pays for the firefighters to keep your home safe? Who pays for public schools that your children attend?

    Oh, thats right...plenty of things that benefit everyone are paid for by everyone...and EVERYONE needs to see a doctor regularly.

    So when you start paving your own roads and teaching your own kids and patrolling your own street (that you paved), let me know Bruce.

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. NObama

    I do not understand why CNN initiated an anti-Clinton campaign. CNN only reports stories pro-Obama and con-Clinton. Obama has lied so many times but CNN simply reports rosy stories about him. CNN is giving Obama a free ride again! Just wonder how much money has the Obama campaign given CNN out of their 40 million raised in March?

    April 6, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Travis in CA

    She didn't like, she just "mis-spoke", she got confused, her words were mixed up, the media is attacking her, if it were Obama they'd ignore it, this still happens so she's still right. How many ways will her supporters find to justify her constant and consistent lying. Do you really, I mean REALLY want a President who continues to lie to increase her status and legitimacy. ALL politicians lie, but her lies are so ridiculous and unnecessary, they are always meant to make her out to be a hero figure.

    Lastly, why is every time she gets in trouble for lying or other, Clinton supporters always bring up Obama? Even she brings up Obama to divert the attention. This is like a child who gets caught doing wrong and says, "well, Jimmy does it, too", or "Jimmy did something worse than me, look at him." You wouldn't accept this from a child, why accept it from your President. Obama needs to stand for his mistakes as does she, Clinton supports stop bring him up to make yourself feel better. She's a liar who will say and do anything, no matter how unethical.

    April 6, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. JF

    ""She had no reason to doubt his word"… sounds like her approach to her Iraqi war vote.
    "It's not always possible to fully vet them…" sounds like her approach to prewar intelligence data."

    Lets see, She should be able to see into mens harts, and She should be ALL knowing.... My God, what are you going to think when you find out She doesn't walk on water either?

    A REAL leader, for REAL people
    Hillary 08

    April 6, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Kong

    The issue is healthcare, but it's also lying. One thing that lying does is that it hurts credibility. If Hillary cares so much about healthcare, she needs to act like it. Every time she lies, she hurts not only her credibility (which I don't care about), but it also hurts the cause of healthcare (which I do care about). Lots of people will now see this and say, "See the Dems are just making stuff up to raise taxes. Lets fight health care tooth and nail."

    Hillary's lying on the stump actually puts important policy on the line. Her inability to do basic vetting, makes me question her ability to be our President.

    April 6, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Jake, California

    As an Obama supporter, I do not see a lie here from Senator Clinton.

    She told the story as she heard from the family. That family should be blamed instead for trying to exaggerate their story....though I am aware that turning people away due to lack of insurance is not uncommon.

    April 6, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Michaele

    This is just what we need. President who does not get the facts before they speak or act. We are in Iraq because elected Congressmen did not vet the information given them by the Bush administration before they authorized a war. We may be getting into a war with Iran based on faulty intelligence. We watched Katrina victims dying on bridges because those in charge did not know that they had no food or water. They got the facts wrong and people died.

    In order to avoid faulty intelligence, Hillary needs to stop, investigate and respond with good judgment. If she won't do this while she campaigns why do we expect her to do this in the White House.

    I won't call this a lie, but I will call it poor judgment. Voters are smart enough to sort this out.

    April 6, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Miz OH

    I am from Ohio and I beleive i the dupty, because the same thing happen to me, I lost my job, the factory closed up and I had no Ins. was sick went to the Dr. , would not treat my till I paid first. I had to go to a friend and get the money, so I know this happens!! I Don't Beleive The Hosipal, because they know too. Factory closed because Ohio is to high taxed.

    April 6, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. NObama

    Is there any significance about things like this? Can CNN report somthing important to the election and American people?

    Is CNN initiating a nagative campaign against Clinton on behalf of Obama, which Obama himself pretends not to be doing under the pressure of party leanders?

    April 6, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Asians for Hillary

    She just mispoke as everyone could. We listen to stories that we are told by people but how can know the accuracy of all of them? It really doesn't matter because it's just an example of the importance of health care. I think what really matters are the issues that Hillary wants to help the nation with. I still support Hillary 100% and I think Obama is NOT more honest than Hillary. In fact Obama lies and lies and there are ample examples of his dishonesty.

    April 6, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Joe

    How can people take you seriously as a Candidate for the Presidency if you can't have the integrity of having all the facts before you choose to use a story to make your points, or make a decision?

    April 6, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Donna

    I work at a hospital, and Hillary should know, that hospitals NEVER refuse a person care regardless of their ability to pay. Shame on Hillary for not using a story she heard FIRST-HAND on the campaign trail. Is this how she is going to run the country? Remember, she voted to authorize the Iraq war WITHOUT reading the national intelligence report.

    April 6, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Kim, KY

    Why doesn’t CNN report that a Police Chief told Hillary this story? Oh yea, cause they are under the Obama spell…I forgot that.

    The officer told Hillary in detail and that is exactly how she told the story in her speeches. Hillary listened intently when the person spoke and you could see the actual concern on her face. She had no reason to believe he was misrepresenting the story. How many times have Obama and other politicians repeated stories that were told to them without doing a major background check first?

    Give me a break CNN…and all these Obama maniacs posting comments calling her a liar. You’re just ticked because you couldn’t find anything wrong with her taxes! So what if she’s rich, she sure donated and paid a lot more taxes than any other politician that we know of…so give the lady a break!!! Oh and I guess Obama is poor 😦

    April 6, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Non-American point of view

    Please do not say that it is difficult for a woman to be president. I am from India where an Italian born Caucasian woman was elected (by the people) as the Prime Minister (highest elected office in India) in 2004. She ended up declining the post, but she did win the election.

    The reason why Hillary Clinton should not / cannot become president of US, is because she is a liar, cheater and flat out a bad human being – nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. She is little regard for American public. I cannot believe people even allow Hillary Clinton to continue with her campaign any more. The remaining Clinton followers are either blindly supporting her (because she is a woman / white etc) or loyal from the Bill Clinton days. There is absolutely nothing Clinton is going to do for America. If Clinton steals this nomination by fooling the democrats its a disgrace to America to loose a candidate like Obama.

    April 6, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Tom

    I used to be a Hillary supporter because I thought she had expertise on the issues. With the Bosnia 'mis-speak' and now this latest manipulation I have finally changed my mind and will vote for Obama. Why would I want to exchange one president I do not trust for another who is perhaps even more manipulative? The Clintons must think us regular people are fools that can be easily snowed. I think America will prove them wrong. There is poetic justice insofar as the traps the Clintons are setting for the public are now ensnaring them.

    April 6, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. nsamata@gmail.com

    Sham on you CNN!!! You post most ot anti-Hillary comments. You didn't post mine that was for her!!! Go Hllary!! These people will try to put u down, but keep fighting as a fighter!!! Win or Lose, we will be proud of you!!!!

    April 6, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Cami

    This is the woman who touts health care reform as her platform, yet she couldn't investigate the sketchy details of one story that was told to her secondhand? Again, she goes into such "detail" in telling the story, just as she did with her Bosnia tale. The lowered voice, cracking with emotion . . . it all makes me question if there's anything genuine in any of the stories she's told during this campaign.

    April 6, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. MN Voter

    Some commentators here are saying that this falsehood (or carelessness with the truth–whatever you want to call it) isn't a big deal because our health care system really does turn some people away for not having insurance. But you don't do the cause of health care reform any favors by using false stories to make your point. In fact, that just makes it easier for ouropponents to dismiss the whole need for health care reform. So by being so careless in telling stories like this, Clinton not only shows (once again) her own character flaws BUT also sets back the cause for health care reform in this country.

    April 6, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Vig

    In fairness to Hillary, ABC news gave the source of the story as a law enforcement officer telling her the story and she was then telling it on her campaign talks. SO there.
    We are still waiting for CNN to begin a series on Gender and Politics – Women in America. But one must wonder if CNN's own gender biases are preventing the exploration of this and especially when their own polls show that more Americans would vote for a Black male to be President than a woman. Where are you CNN?

    April 6, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. TERRY From TEXAS

    Obama, McCain seen as more trustworthy than Clinton the polls clearly indicated that recently. McCain Vs OBAMA will be an honest debate.
    Obama clearly against it and McCain for it let the debate began let the American people decide. Hillary sorry not this time .

    April 6, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. hm, atlanta georgia

    If Hillary had as much expertise about the American health care system as she claims, she would know that pregnant women are required by law to be evaluated regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. This "right" is posted in every ER and L&D across the country. She doesn't have to investigate the details of one patient's story to get that fact right. Is she going to "mis-speak" all the time like this if she gets elected? What does that say for US as a nation if we vote to put a liar in the white house?

    April 6, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Mary in Oklahoma

    It certainly is true that a person may not receive the care they need if they have no health insurance and income. It happened to me when I needed surgery and it wasn't done and it has left me a cripple.
    Can't tell you how many times I have heard similar stories of people needing expensive health care and no insurance. People die.
    Senator Hillary Clinton told the story as it was told to her and it probably was true. Hospitals and medical people are trying to save their own butts by denying the claim. Those who wants to blame Clinton will do so regardless of the truth. Clinton haters tell lies every day to further their own agendas.

    April 6, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Shirly

    I happen to be pregnant and uninsured and my dr charges me $375 every month to go see him. This month, I can't come up with it so I won't be able to go. I PRAY that he will see me next month when I need to get a shot because I am RH negative and my husband is positive. If I can't get that shot at 28 weeks, I won't be able to carry any more children to term; I'll build up antibodies and miscarry. I am not on welfare or medicaid because up until this month, we made enough money to live without it. Now, my husband lost his job and with rent and car insurance and utilities, an extra $375 every month is hard to come by. Even the Chip insurance program costs that much a month. Maybe I don't work at a pizza place or live in Ohio, but these stories do happen.

    April 6, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Ex-Hillary supporter

    Clinton is one of the biggest recipients of funding from the health care industries, she will protect their interests over real reform.
    The lady lacks integrity.
    Has she fired Penn yet?

    April 6, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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