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. Karen

    How pathetic people are to criticize Clinton for this. She was relaying a story told to her. Health care is a critical issue in this country and Obama exploiting this issue is appalling on many levels. He is smearing health care reform in this country because he could care less, but he is willing to use it to score political points. He got his supporters at the hospital to violate privacy laws so he could score political points. The hospital chose to break the law all so they could help their candidate score pts. I imagine that hospital doesn't care about people getting health care just like Obama doesn't. He could care less about the family of this woman as long as he could score political points. Obama is disgusting. His supporters are disgusting.

    April 6, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Elizabeth

    Naturally the hospital is going to deny it to save their hides. You keep saying what all Hillary is telling on Obama and as I see it she dosen"t tell as much on him as he does on her. It is just that every word Hillary says somone tries to make a lie out of it. Please spend more time on checking on Obama's past. This is really a scary situation. Wake UP!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Concerned

    I am surprised at the comments that I read on the tickler. How can anyone blame CNN for this story? CNN is not the one running for president and is certainly not the one who keeps telling lies. Advice to the candidates (and the dumb people who support your stupidity): If you don't your poor choices and mistakes to be reported in the news, don't make them!!

    April 6, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Fred

    It's one thing to repeat a story once or twice without checking it out. To repeat it many times, as the CNN article says she did ("frequently"), without checking it out speaks poorly of a public servant's character. If a candidate makes a story part of their repeated campaign speech, I believe they are obligated to make sure it's true. A basic responsibility of all people is to endeavor to speak the truth at all times. Someone who willingly ignores this does not hold my respect. "Truth is the material from which the leadership chain is forged." Or, as Abe Lincoln once said (remember "Honest Abe"?) – "Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."

    April 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. JimC

    "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?"

    Thank you, Bruce. Someone needed to say that!

    April 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Dick in Sioux Falls

    It is my understanding that Sen Clinton merely was repeating what she had been told, without checking or vetting the story. I am an Obama supporter who has little confidence in Hillary's commitment to the truth in this campaign, but in this instance, I don't believe she should be pilloried for repeating a story that she believed to be true.
    I believe that she should be held accountable, along with Tom Daschle and John McCain, for not listening to her own Senate Intelligence Committee report leading up to the authorization for the Iraq War.
    Even if Iraq had had WMDesruction, why did the Senators not ask the question, "How could a 3rd rate power with no Air Force, no Navy, no ICBM's possibly be a threat to America?" Why did they not ask: "Why should we take out the only government in the Gulf Area which is an avowed enemy of Iran?" Why did Hillary not ask those questions, and thereby save the lives of over 4,000 of our brave young men and women; and according to UNICEF, 650,000 to 900,000 Iraqi civilians? Why not, indeed?

    April 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Eric in CA

    Several of you have said that the actual facts in this story need not be true since the problem that she is addressing is real.

    The problem with that kind of thinking is that before you can fix a broken system you have to know what is wrong with it. Imagine if your mechanic replaced your alternator when your battery was dead. You would be out extra money and your car would still have the same problems.

    Good policy is based on sound facts. The defenses of this misstatement sound an awful lot like some defenses I heard in late 2003 and 2004. Sure the yellow cake story turned out to be flawed and the Mohammed Atta who met with the Iraqis turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, but Saddam Hussein was a bad man and in the end isn't that really all that matters?

    I for one am tired of policy based on belief. I'm not really an Obama supporter, and I have my concerns about McCain, but there is no way after all that I have seen that I would ever cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.

    April 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Tyler in Raleigh, NC

    And she claims she is the one that can be elected? At the rate her lies are comming apart she will have ZERO support by the general election. The Clinton Machine is all made up of this supposed "experience" and stories of her fighting for heatlh insurance, national security and jobs.

    The longer we look at it, she was PRO-NAFTA, she did ZERO for health insurance and her stories are lies, her foreign policy experience is also based on lies... and the woman has not worked a real day in years as she sat on the Wal-Mart board and led scandal after scandal in her campaign finances.

    As to this story, I am sorry people die but that is life. If they came up with a way to make everyone live to 100 for a measly $10 million dollars would I then be required to pay taxes to make sure that every poor baby boomer could play shuffleboard until that age? HEALTH INSURANCE IS NOT A RIGHT!!! Read the Constitution. If you want health insurance, work for it like I do... I do not ask for anyone to pay my house, food or insurance and neither should anyone else.

    April 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Chipster

    Clinton did not lie. She said that someone on the campaign trail told her the story and that's true. Someone posted earlier that hospitals are required to treat patients but that isn't true. Does that make them a liar?

    Patients are sometimes turned away or left to sit in the waiting room until they die. Didn't this happen just recently in California, even after calls were made to 911 from the hospital? Hospital personnel can always claim that they didn't think the person needed treatment. Hospitals have also been known to refuse to accept transfer patients if they are unable to pay. They may be liable if they are sued but that doesn't prevent them from doing it in the first place.

    April 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Commander In Deceit

    Get used it America, she has no integrity.

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Bern

    I can only remember the lies Hillary tells than any inspiring message she had offered. I can almost tell line by line what Obama will say anytime he gets on the stage but cant even remember any good thing Hillary has said except attacks, exagerations and lies. Her attacks are more known than any economic plans she has to offer. Obama is so consistent that all the kids can tell u when this man will say if he gets on the stage. We shall remember all his messages as we remember "I have a Dream" speech from Martin Luther King.

    April 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. John L. Voss

    It is understood that candidates for public office cannot personally confirm the validity of mis-information provided for every item provided by staff that is intended for publication in any form of campaign material (written or oral). It is not understood how one candidate can be the victim of so many of these easily discredited items. Makes one wonder tho what really would happen as a result of reaction to misinformation provided in one of the often cited "3:00 am" phonecalls.

    April 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Ready on what day?

    How are we expected to vote for someone that can't check for the facts? It's one thing to be told a lie from some people it's another to repeat it over and over again. For a presidential candidate I expect some better research.

    April 6, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Don

    When will people stop blaming the media for shedding light on these candidates. If it weren't for the media we would still think Hillary was under some sniper fire in Bosnia. Don't blame the media blame Clinton.

    April 6, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Kay-Arizona

    I think there is more to learn about the "medical coverage" this woman had. Was it HMO Health care coverage or what kind? The point being we have real problems in this country regarding health care coverage and before anyone gets all puffed up about that, remember, it does, and can happen with our current policies regarding health insurance. However either candidate wants to make it an issue is alright with me because I agree whoever says it.

    April 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Chantel

    America, let's not "misspeak" at the voting polls. Let's tell Hillary loud and clear, with our votes, that her lies are not exceptable.

    Vote for Barack 08

    April 6, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. VicO

    I think she should be more careful, if you are going to use any story running for the highest political office of the USA, what kind of presidency is she going to bring with her to the White House? I was undecided but now, after the "sniper-Bosnia" story and other "mis-spoken" troubles, I just don't trust in her any more. I will still vote for her in the general tho. Obama will have my vote for now.

    April 6, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Andrea, Pensacola FL

    OMG, what a lapse for Hillary Clinton. Talk about selling voters short!

    Most people should know a hospital would not turn a sick pregnant woman away!

    Will she not stoop at twisting and lying about ANY type of story for votes? When will all her lies stop?

    This is a major problem for the Clinton campaign. I would like to see more coverage of this story! I am interested in knowing more.

    April 6, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. spyturtle

    Hillary thinks we live in the world of Xerox where we can't verify information immediately. Welcome to the new world where you can't get away with lies. Her dinosaur of a campaign is woefully corrupt and behind the times. Wake up to this century.

    April 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Mary Sue

    Because Clinton has been completely merciless toward Obama, proclaiming that words matter, she needs to be held to her own standard.

    I hope she's glad now that Obama has not adopted the kitchen sink strategy against her–between the lie about sniper fire in Bosnia and this little ditty, her world would be coming unglued.

    April 6, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Jeanne

    Who lied?? She said she was told the story and she was told the story. I think that the fact the mother and child actually did die is proof enough. There isn't a hospital in this country that would take responsibilty of their part in a patient's death. It is a fact that, in this country, one's wealth ranks the type of medical care you are given. I have health care coverage for about $150 a month, but it still cost me over $500 out of pocket to have a physical examination this year. Do you think I will ever have another one done...no. I can't afford it on top of paying 1/3 of my income to taxes, another 1/3 for living expenses and the remainder for unexpected expenses and misc. stuff that comes up. I view death as retirement . If anyone feels Hillary is lying about the story she told, look around....there are millions of stories everyday just like that one. I think people are "nit-picking" just because it was Hillary who told it as an example of our health care system. I know hospitals charge more to people who have coverage, because they have to cover the cost for the one's they treat who do not have coverage. Then in turn the coverage of insurance goes up to cover their cost for paying the high payments made to the hospitals that had to carry the burden of treating the ones who weren't covered. It is a cycle that needs to be broken, but it won't as long as there are people who are not covered. WE are all paying the high cost of health coverage as long as there are people with none. I think Hillary is on to something and it should be required that ALL people are covered. If this country can afford to strip trillions of dollars from hundred of programs to fund this unnecessary war, I would think that we could come up with a solution to make coverage affordable to all.....if we were not in Iraq. I can hear people now...."well, she voted for the war"...and NO, she did not...she voted to give the president the authority to go to war...BUT as a LAST resort...AFTER all other avenues were exhausted diplomatically. Little did she, and many others who voted to give him the authority, know that he planned to use it as a FIRST resort. I am sure they thought he was a level headed thinking president....not the "decider" that he is. Her speech given during the vote, if you care to hear the truth, is posted on youtube, check it out. It would be very easy to say you would have voted no when you weren't in the position to have a vote on it, like Obama, and IF you were not the Senator of NY where the Twin Towers stood. We didn't know at time who was involved in the attacks, as we now know that Iraq had absolutely no connection and Afghanistan should have been our main concern. Obama keeps talking about it, but considering that he is the Chair for the Afghanistan Subcommitte and has not held one meeting in over a year, he apparently is just as useful a resource as Bush and his minions. We trusted a man out fear, who was not to be trusted, but that was a different time. Bush was not experienced enough to run this country, as he has proved and we do not need to walk down that same avenue with Obama.
    Hillary has my vote and my support....along with millions of Americans who feel the same. HILLAmericans who feel the same. HILLARY '08!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. shaniqua

    hilary clinton is not a liar most people just don't understand her. if you were on the road as long as she was you would probably misspeak to. so back off of Hilary clinton! you all are just jealous. !!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. A Dem.

    More Proof she is a liar, I used to support Hilary but i now support obama due to her lack of integrity. The saddest fact is that now i am starting to doubt whether i can truly support hillary over mccain if she is to win the nomination.

    April 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Sharon Minnesota

    Well, I can see the haters are out in full force again. Come on people, it's just a story to punctuate the problems in the health care system.

    I am fully in support of (Hillary) who can help fix the problems we face in this industry.

    April 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. Becky

    Well here we go again another "lie' I am begining to wonder why she tends to lie maybe her husband is rubbing off on her? He lied about Monica "L" and also gave pardon to crooks. By her husband campaigining for her it also is a realization that she can't stand alone as a candidate.

    When he (Clinton) shows up for private meetings with superdelegates pleading her side of the story tells me she can't stand alone on her own merit.

    She says she wants Florida & Michigan votes to count we'll she isn't playing fair. Obama wasn't on that ballot so she thinks she deserves these votes. Absolutely nuts! She doesn't play fair!

    My vote isn't for this characerr flawed candidate. NO more Bush and Clinton dynasties in the White House we need a real change and hopefully this country will mend. We need change and I am happy to see that the younger generation is steping up and being party of the politcal lanscape after all after the we are all gone it will be there inheritance and the current president has made sure that the next generation is in hock up to their ears in debt and war. We need change and hope in this country.

    April 6, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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