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. GiveusaBreak

    How come CNN only allows comments on negative Hillary articles? Oh I forgot, there are no negative Obama articles. He's the anointed one.

    April 6, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. john

    its not a lie, there are a lot of similar cases...

    April 6, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. jim

    Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred towards people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the individuals

    . This fits CNN, and MSNBC

    April 6, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. bdc

    For someone who says she knows so much about health care, and has been "fighting" for it for soooo long... you would think she would realize that pregnancies and all ER visits MUST be treated, regardless of insurance status. ITS THE LAW. Therefore, the story HAD to have been false and anyone who knows about american health care should know that.

    I'm a medical student and I work in the ER, emergencies gets treated by law, regardless of ability to pay.

    April 6, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    So what, a person she meet on the campaign trail lied to her, it must have been either an Obama or McCain supporter

    April 6, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Patrick

    I would be more surprised if they fact checked one of her stories and it turned out to be true. She's the most dishonest politician I've ever seen....by far. She also blames George Bush for every problem in the world, it's so old and desperate.

    April 6, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Will

    Hillary just lost my vote.
    Why did CNN change the headline? She DID lie!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Thanh

    If her campaign staff gives her speech material that hasn't been completely fact checked, what can you do? The media runs and prints inaccurate stories all the time, most of which are corrected and some are dropped. You can't call her a liar for using material that looked good right in the middle of a stump.

    The point is, that the situation *can* happen or has happened to other people. Maybe not there, but in another place like a metropolitan area.

    April 6, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Rafi, NY NY

    If you can't fully vet a story, then simply don't repeat it. Shouldn't that be obvious?

    April 6, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Charlotte

    I guess pro-Clinton not allowed? Where did my comment go? Hillary was emphasizing the need for health care. She was repeating a story that was told to her. This type of thing happens everyday, maybe not this particular incident, but one like it. I'll take a lie about sniper fire in a war zone, better then lying about a 20 year relationship with an anti-american preacher anyday.

    April 6, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. MadamPres

    So Hillary relied on a story given to her by a police officer and repeated the story to illustrated an already documented fact. The story told turns out to be uncomfirmable (the hospital wouldn't possibly lie about it?Nahhh...) and yet it doesn't change the already documented facts.

    On the other hand, Obama "would have left the church" if his racist, anti-american preacher had not decided to retire. Funny it took him 20 YEARS to make that decision... I once left a church in less than 20 MINUTES of hearing that kind of sermon and didn't regret the loss of "friends" at all.

    At least Hillary takes a stand. Obama talks big but usually it's someone else's words and after the fact. Give me a fallible human being over a media-gifted messiah that's being shoved down my throat any day. A long time ago, I learned that when something seems to good to be true, it usually is. A large number of people voting for Obama also showed their "good" judgment by voting for Bush... TWICE!

    I'm curious, if Obama gets the nomination, will his people call for McCain to concede two months before the election, so as not to anger a large segment of the general election voters?

    April 6, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. blinky

    as much as i dislike HRC, i don't really fault her for this one. stories get told and retold and retold and pretty soon the story no longer resembles the original. i highly doubt she discovered this one herself. i'm sure a staffer heard about it from a friend who knew a co-worker of the woman's sister, etc. the fact that it's a medical case makes verifying the details harder (hipaa).

    April 6, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. N in europe

    She claims ready to answer the phone at 3 a.m. and cannot even manage a speech that is water tight????

    What inefficiency.

    April 6, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Hillary should stay in the race to the end.
    Obama willhave more things that will come out that will sink his run for the nomination.
    Also As for Hillay's support for the war that Obama and his surogates keep talking about.
    Kerry one who keeps saying Obama was against the war and Hillary was for it now says the following
    1) Sen. John Kerry, who argues that if an entire nation can be indecisive about human bondage, voters surely should forgive a political leader who changes his or her mind.

    April 6, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. jayjay

    This is just another way for CNN to inject more hatred into the anti-Hillary the media has created. Instead of knit picking, why can't we all focus on the big picture cause there are indeed millions of people who are refused medical treatment because they don't have insurance? Hillary was just trying to make a point.

    April 6, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. James, Washington DC

    Hillary Rodham Clinton is the REAL DEAL! She is the answer to the country's problems. She has the knowledge and experience to help solve the problems, and get our country back on the right path.

    She cares about each and every American, and has contributed MILLIONS of her earnings and spent significant amounts of her time and energy to find solutions to our country's problems.

    Hillary doesn't just wax-lyrical and give carefully-crafted flowery speeches. She is a strong fighter who keeps coming back stronger each time people bash her and try to drive her away. She is a born leader. Strong, confident, respectful, smart and tenacious! True marks of a President/Leader!

    April 6, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Like It Is

    Do you think any hospital is going to admit being at fault? Give me a break! Thousands if not millions have been denied what at the time was thought to be non-emergency care. At times even emergency care has been denied.

    April 6, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. CHERYL







    MY VOTE GOES TO HILLARY!!!!!!!! 2009!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Kris In PA

    Did any of you shouting "lier" actually read the entire story here?? Get a clue, she did not lie, she told the story that was told to her. Besides, it's not like this type of story does not happen on a daily basis. And CNN could ou have chosen a more representative title for this so-called news "story". What a joke the mainstream media has become. They must really believe that most of us are too stupid to see through this biased nonsense. Of course by the looks of most of the replies here, maybe most of us are that stupid.

    April 6, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. sue

    Obama flat out lied about not knowing of Rev. Wright's hateful, racist sermons until he was forced to renounce them in his presidential campaign after heeding Wright's counsel for 20 years. He lied on CNN, telling conflicting stories about this. Yet, because it has to do with race, and apparently because Obama is too tender to endure such criticism, the media has gone silent on this most worrisome issue of credibility. Hillary is absolutely the best candidate for the presidency.

    April 6, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. foday

    knowing this days about law suite even nurses who worked in the nursing home and hospital are aware of law suit. It is not the hospital that is to blame here. I really don't know I Hillary knows what pt privacy law is. You cannot talk about people health issue if you do not have a consent to do so. Does she know that she can be sue from the hospital about telling lies and also the family member can sue her for saying things about this woman without their consent. I think before she says anything about someone concerning hospital she has to at first get her fact. if not she will get into law suit that will drown her candidacy for ever.
    I think if she want to win she should try and try very hard to say the truth. She cannot be a lier all the time. We all change for better. I don't know if she read all this these things people write about her being a lier. she should stop these lies for her sake and for the sake of the country.

    April 6, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Isaac

    Obama lies and misspeaks all the time people. The Selma march anyone? This is not even worthy of discussion to be perfectly honest. Judge them on their merits and if you think they will be a good president. How about that for a notion?

    April 6, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Please make it stop

    Wouldn't you think you will try to verify a story; esp. since she is using it in all her speeches regarding healthcare. Do we really know what really happen to this woman in the story???

    April 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Tony

    According to a CNN article by a Jeff Green-CNN Wednesday May 10 2006 Posted 12:02 pm EDT (16:02 GMT) an estimated 2 million babies die within the first 24 hours of life each year and the United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world. The United States was out done so to speak by Latvia. Sooo, it appears that Hillary was not off the mark by much, and incidents such as this will only serve to hone her edge in the sword battle for good health care for all U.S. citizens and taxpayers when Hillary Clinton becomes President Hillary Clinton. Sort of strange why an unnamed hospital had to come to its defense. Hmmmm.

    April 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. mama4obama

    There clearly is a healthcare crisis in this country, but that does not mean that we need clearly dishonest politicians out there embellishing the truth to make them seem more human.

    I am truly amazed that there are still people who can forgive and forget about all the lies that have come out of that mouth. I’m sick and tired of the Hillary supporters continually being blinded by ignorant belief.

    Someone needs to slap you upside the back of the head and wake you up. Get out there and do your homework. The information is there if you really want to see it.

    This mama is for Obama 2008

    April 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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