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. Andrew Kenneth

    I blame her woful campaign advisor's, no one proof reads or checks anything for accuracy.
    They were obviously planning a coronation and not a nomination battle.
    She is developing a pattern of uttering in accurate statements and tall tales, and unfortunately its beginning to look like she is allergic to the truth.

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

    I don't care if CNN every posts my post, they are not news people anyways, they are just mouth peices for the old white "SEXIST" men.
    . There is thousands of places to post, and in fact my friends, and i will soon start our owen site with a fed. grant we just got.

    April 6, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Isn't it funny how much larger the portion of Hillary supporters will not vote or vote for McCain in the general.
    I think it is beacuse they know what the real Obama is all about.
    All they speak about on the blogs is Hillary lis, Hillary will do anything to win.
    They speak with such distain for her.

    Well if any candidate had a Rev Wright in their closet they would be run out of politics.

    It is also funny how 90% of African Americans are voting for Obama and nobody calls it racism. They say well it is the first time the community has a chance with a viable candidate, but if Hillary would get 90% of the womans vote or 90% white vote the African American commuinty would find a way to call it racism

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

    Big money, the establishment, the corporations need her. Do younot wonder who is pumping money in her campaing and why?. Do you not wonder who will pay millions for speaking and why?

    April 6, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Ian

    You really have to question at this point how many other topics Clinton has lied to us about in order to get our emotions working so we would vote for her. Nevermind the policy positions she has lied about (like claiming she is anti-NAFTA when she is cleary pro-NAFTA.) She had my vote up until now. Not anymore- I'm switching to Obama.

    April 6, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Mike

    This is called managing the facts to fit the message. If that's sounds familiar, it's what Bush/Cheney have done in Iraq for the last 5 years. Do we really want someone who has a habitual problem with telling the truth, however inconvenient that may be?

    April 6, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |









    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Jen DFW

    Obama, Michelle and McCain have all done the same mistakes. Oh how we let the forgive the rest of there mistakes. Michelle Obama told a story the other day and my husband (who is black) said yeah right an 8 year old didn't tell her that....So you see it happens all the time...Obama has some advisors saying that Obama is lying on the campaign for votes. HMMMMMM

    April 6, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. mike anthony jr.Wingate,Pa.

    Once again, Hillary embellished the truth it serve her needs, Sounds like a person that will do what ever it takes to get in the White House.

    April 6, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. tina

    please give me a break anything that comes out from Hillary is being scrutinized by the media or hit the headlines ,i'm so tired of this. I am an independent voter but the way the pundits are treating Hillary is not really fair you grouped together in front of the camera and pretended to analyze whatever but after just one minute of listening it's just a show to put down Hillary.I didn't see the intelligence the eloquence on Obama if that's the way you rated him i think the media is doomed. very sad...

    April 6, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Mauri

    I'd like to hear one good reason why Mrs. Clinton should drop out of the race before the entire population has voted. Nobody has asked Obama to drop out, and nobody ever talks about the misspeaks of Obama and his wife, Michelle. The media is so busy pressure-cooking and writing leading stories about Hillary Clinton, that they haven't the time to cover what he may have said that was untrue.
    Example: Michelle Obama said in one speech that the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND was sucking the life out of our teachers, when in reality, it was Obama's big endorser, Ted Kennedy who co-sponsored the bill with George W. Bush. Never one word was printed about that. Yet Hillary's spouse need only show a certain facial expression and the talking heads, like Chris Matthews on MSNBC, starts immediately to dissect what exactly he meant by that expression, and before his program is over, he'll seat a Bill/Hillary panel who'll recall that not since Saddam Hussein was alive has anyone seen such an expression on ANYONE'S face, thereby suggesting that Hillary Clinton has surely committed treason, or husband Bill would have surely been smiling instead of grousing.

    To the above, I've never seen a campaign so one-sided as this one in the eyes of certain media hawkers.

    April 6, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Eric- Pa

    The folks who responded to this article are mean-spirited and inhuman. And I want nothing to do with a campaign that creates such nasty people. That halo CNN and its internet users have placed above Obama's head will fail.

    April 6, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Lilarose in Oregon

    I really dislike all of the candidates "stories" about all the miseries in life.

    I don't like the presidents singling out a "hero" during the State of the Union speeches each year.

    Candidates, please just tell us what YOU'RE planning to do about specific problems we all face.

    April 6, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Debbie

    CNN, when will you report that Hillary was repeating a story told to her by a supporter. The tape exists. When will you put the story out about that? Stop trying to spin this story against Hillary. How many stories has Obama repeated which may not be completely correct? Have you looked into that?

    April 6, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Roberto

    It is sad to see someone as Hillary Clinton, a woman with a lot of positive attributes and capabilities, lie shamelessly to try to win something that she has already lost.

    April 6, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Soren Canada

    Hillary and the Clinton campaign treats American voters as idiots. Should the Clintons win, they will have proved their point.

    April 6, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. bk

    As if Obama doesn't lie? How about the lie he told about his father? How about the lie he told about not taking oil money. How about the lie he told about not taking money from drug company's and come to find out he takes more from them than any other candidate. Obama has a long list of lies. They all do.

    April 6, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Oboy

    As good as this story was for a campaign that catches the audience all over the globe, a presidential candidate should run a fact check to the authenticity of the story before carrying it on a campiagn trail.

    In as much as she felt free to take credit for the story on her campaign train, she should be bold enough to accept the responsibilities for carrying stories not checked for facts.

    It is not strange for Hillary anyway!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. cheekbrown

    I agree with Natasha above. It's one thing to repeat a story to a friend that someone else has told you, without checking to see if it is true. This is done all of the time. However, if you are [a] running for President of the United States, and [b] accusing your competition of being untruthful, incompetent, and inexperienced, you'd better be certain that ALL of your facts are in order. Hillary is showing more and more that she cannot be trusted, and that she will do and say ANYTHING to get back into the White House. Pennsylvania, is that really what this country needs?

    April 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Randy

    Many Clinton supporters defend this story based on their belief that things like this DO happen. Can anybody out there actually name a specific hospital the U.S. where a specific person having a medical problem was turned away from the emergency room because they did not have health insurance? Perhaps I am naive, but this sounds like an urban legend.

    April 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Brenda

    I am so tired of Hillary embellishing stories however she see's fit without blinking an eye. We all know there are plenty of health care cases where people are paying too much for insurance, high deductibles etc....but to take a story that someone off the street tells you and turn it into a full blown he said /she said story with supposed quotes from the patient and the hospital is rediculous. I am very disturbed at the ease in which Hillary can tell these embellished stories as fact.

    April 6, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Nancy

    Go Hillary. You are the solution for America.

    April 6, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. jane

    Go Hillary

    April 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Dave

    I grew up in Athens, Ohio, and I seriously doubt that the story Sen. Clinton tells really could have started there. It's a small town with a big university, Ohio University, so it is relatively cosmopolitan for its small number of permanent residents. As a college town, it is rather left-leaning, so I doubt that such harsh treatment of an indigent patient would have been tolerated.

    If she has been lying about Athens, Ohio for all this time, all I can say is that I am even more disappointed in her. I'll cast my vote for her in November, nevertheless, but as far as donating time or money is concerned, she can count me out.

    April 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. m

    Hillary '08!!

    April 6, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36