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. Mary

    This is a true story. The woman was turned away for non payment of medical bills. It wasn't that hospital though. Mrs. Clinton didn't say that the stroy was true. She just said that someone had told her the story. She didn't mention the name or the hospital in her speech. If you research the data on the woman, she was turned away from an Ohio hospital. Mrs Clinton said in her speech exactly what was relayed to her and it was the truth. You people just spin it to make it look as if she has lied. Pathetic.

    April 6, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Jesse

    Obama should change that slogan of his from "Change We Can Believe In" to "Change We Can BELIEVE!"

    I don't like any of the candidates myself, so I don't favor any one over the others. But the fact that a significant amount of people continue to pledge their support to Hillary after all of her lying (and that's only considering what's been FOUND to be false), flip-flopping and just downright nastiness only goes to show how stupid the American populace as a whole has become.

    COME ON PEOPLE!!! This woman is the walking, talking, breathing, venom-spewing representation of what is wrong with American politics. How can folks not catch on?

    April 6, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. FEDUP

    She should have made sure this particular story was true before she repeated it. A story to emphasize the need for universal health care. Unfortunately, this type of thing does happen, people are denied care if they lack insurance. Obama has told more lies then Hillary if you want to get into a piss-g contest. Rev. Wright for one big one, Rezko another one, lobby money another, oil money, Exelon, his home deal, the most recent Schultz, first he wasn't there then he didn't hear it, sound familiar?

    April 6, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Asian

    Wow..Obama folks are supporting what hospital is saying rather than the patient. If you are not a victim of such thing, you won't know. We all know how insurance and hospital work. It takes lot of guns to prove your case against them. I would comment Clinton for listenting to both parties.

    April 6, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. wisconsin2001

    Obama didn't ask or feed Clinton this hospital tale. So why are you blaming Obama for her (or her campaign) failure to verify this story? Be reasonable, please!

    April 6, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Miz OH

    By the way Hillary did not lie,the Duty told her the story, and I don't think he got it wrong, not by my experience. I can see the hosipal getting it wrong.

    April 6, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Jason

    It's now clear to me now why folks in Europe think that Americans are fools.
    How on earth did Bush win his 2nd term with all his lies?
    I think that answers the question on how Hillary still remains competitive with all her imaginary scenes.

    April 6, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Uncle Sam, USA

    It sure seems that Hillary has a tendency to stretch the truth... way past the breaking point. Bosnia snipers and dead pregnant women. Gives folks a lot of confidence in that experience and ready to lead on day one mantra, doesn't it.

    I like the ability to misrepresent and stretch the truth in a presidenter. Don't you?

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Quinn

    I am an Obama supporter, but I do not think we ought to think the WORST about Hillary based on this story. Whether it's Clinton or Obama, I am sick and tired of these kinds of stories that have nothing to do with the issues. I don't like seeing good candidates brought down over nothing.

    Obama 08!

    But Hillary has my respect too!

    April 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. NC Bob

    When the democratic race was Clinton, Obama, Edwards, I thought I could support any two-combination of these three. Recently, however, Hilary Clinton has convinced me that her relationship with the truth is about the same as George Bush's; that is, they're strangers. I'm now solidly in Obama's camp and, if he gets the nomination, hope that he does not approach Clinton as a running mate.

    April 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Jazz

    The deputy sheriff told the story to Hillary on nationwide television during the Ohio campaign. Why didn't the hospital come forward to defend their reputation at that time? Smells like a pro-Obama move
    late in the game doesn't it?
    The video proves there's no lie there. She said "I was told this story and she was". Get over it. Will the media just report the news and stop trying to determine the election outcome? Or simply be fair, Fact Check has verified several lies told by Obama yet they go unreported.
    Lou Dobbs exposed his lies about Lou Dobbs. Watch Lou and learn
    Hillary is TOO LEGIT to QUIT !

    April 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    The article quotes Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee as saying: "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."

    That's the same BS logic that cost Dan Rather his job. Using a lie as proof of an allegation, then when the lie is exposed, saying not to focus on the lie but the issue of the original, now UNPROVEN, allegation.

    These people will stop at absolutely nothing to take down our way of life.

    You want socialist healthcare like Britain and Canada have. Then I guess you won't mind waiting 9 or 10 months for for treatment if you develop brain cancer.

    You won't mind. By then you will be dead.

    April 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. concerned voter

    want to know why your bloggs are getting more and more empty… its because your to bias to Obama, we are going to other bloggs i check in once in a while to see what the dumb people have to say … not much just a punch of crap as always…bye bye cnn and msn… lmao dummies

    April 6, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Mary in Oklahoma

    Senator Clinton's story was restated on TV by a man who was a friend of the victim. He restated the story just as Clinton did. It is the hospital and the media that has it wrong. Anything to slam Clinton.


    April 6, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. SAM


    America has suffered during Carter and GW Bush's presidency. Both candidates were weak but MEDIA influenced us to vote for them. Mr. OBAMA will be as BAD if not worse than Carter and George W. Please use your brain not your heart..

    April 6, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Rusty

    I am a die hard Obama supporter, but as usual I find CNNs reporting sloppy. The headline should be "hospital challenges Clinton story" rather than suggesting emphatically that she "lied". Truth is the hospital has a lot at stake to suggest that the woman was not denied care. My honest "opinion", and it is just that, "opinion", is that Clinton probably did exaggerate and "misspoke" given her long track record at doing so. However, I think it is the medias responsibility (and campaigns as well) to double check the facts and I suspect the NY Times and others are scrambling to do that right now.

    If Clinton did indeed "misspeak" she will rightfully be blasted on all the news programs early this week and her trustworthiness ratings will be justifiably further damaged, if its even possible to get much lower.

    April 6, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |

    she heard a story on camera and she retold it later in her speech. The last time i checked this is not lying. To all you future commentors please proove me wrong.

    April 6, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. King

    Hillary supporters, you shouldn't have to defend your canidate anymore.... come to the Obama 08 side of the pool, the water is fine. CNN is not biased, they just stopped defending her mispeaks.

    April 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. WH

    Clinton is a hard working person. She is very honest. There are no surprises with her. I guarantee, if she does not win the nomination, the Democrates will lose this race. The most un-American thing was for the DNC to disenfranchise millions of voters. I am voting McCain if she is not on the ticket. I will save my vote for her in 2012.

    April 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Marc

    You know, I'm an Obama supporter and really can't stand Clinton, but come on, it's clear she wasn't lying here. Some of you really need to take reading comprehension lessons.

    She repeated a story she was told and never claimed otherwise. She repeated it accurately; the initial story teller was the liar / embellish-er.

    I'm all for "down with Clinton," but some of you are grasping at straws just as much as you claim Clinton is. Geez.

    Oh, and to Jane and others like her who cry like babies every time a story like this gets published – get a life. These are the events of the day. Should CNN NOT have published the fact that the hospital in question denies the events? Then what? Hill removes the story from her speech, it goes away quietly, the hospital, later, gives their own news conference, and Clinton is accused of trying to "hush" another lie.

    You people need a reality check. Seriously.

    April 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. NW

    Steve Brusk,

    Did you check all stories that Obama telling? Or CNN is giving bad coverage exclusively to Hillary?

    (If CNN won't post my comment I will post it on different blog with link to this story, just to show how "fair" coverage is provided by CNN)

    April 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Mildred

    I recall Senator Obama using a story about a young military Captain in his speeches that was inaccurate as well. I guess that was okay because 1) it was Obama and 2) he was simply relying a story that had been told to him. There is no difference between what Obama and Clinton did in telling a story that had been told to them.

    April 6, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Dave

    Just another LIE that the Clinton clan has come up with to attact the tear jerker and weak minded votes. Shame on Hillary Clinton, she can neither do here own thinking nor tell the truth. What make American think she will do anything better if she ever became the President of the USA? What would the world think of American voting in a highly suspected criminal and known lier after she gets caught in lie after lie after lie?

    April 6, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Bill

    What's funnier is that people think obama is telling the truth.

    April 6, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. jean lindboe Bloomiing Prairie, MN

    This is one more way for CNN to conspire against Hillary. She told the story. I don't know if it is true or not, but it illustrates our need for universal health care. CNN sabotage against Hillary is unprecidented. What a bunch of losers and that definitely includes Jack Cafferty. I had a birthday on Saturday and my 3 adult children joined me for the celebration at my house. They were unified in boycotting CNN because there is never anything good unless it is about Obama. They even fouhd it odd that Cafferty with the help of CNN is so intent on destroying another human being. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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