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. J.R.

    Lies are the Clintons speciality!

    April 6, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. Jan from Boca Raton, Fl

    Jack Cafferty is really going to jump on this one. He loves bashing
    I wonder how many skeltons he has in his closets.

    Why does he always sweep obama's lies under the rug.

    Hillary we are ll still behind you.

    Hillary 08

    April 6, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. Dan

    The problem is Hillary is trying to be Bill in a pantsuit and it's not working. He lies much better. She does not have a poker face.

    Let's send both of them packing.

    Also, after this election, I think Congress should draft some laws regarding married people and the presidency. Times have changed and we need laws to guard against inappropriate actions in the future. I think a spouse should be able to run, but there should be laws for the highest office in the land.

    I can't imagine the Clintons back in the WH without any rules, not that they would adhere to them anyway.

    April 6, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Sindu

    I recently visited San Jose CA and was admitted to emergency due to gallblader infection. The hospital was Kaiser. I was suprise to be treated FIRST (because I was in serious pain) before they do my paper work... My foreign insurance require me to pay first and after verification, they will reimbursh. If I were to go on with an operation there which would cost US$ 10K (actually cheaper than what I had in my home country US$15k) which was a possibility at that point of time and the finance was discussed with the hospital financial planner, I am sure I will get the opeartion done even without insurance. I am actually suprise by how efficient and compasionate the hospital have on their patient.

    With this Hospital story that was told by HRC, i knew in first instant that it cannot be true...

    April 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Moira

    She's not lying, she's just Queen of the Fairytales.

    April 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Paul from Mill Valley, California

    Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected; her ambition exceeds her commitment to change those very things upon which her campaign is based. To me, she is no better than McCain who doesn't even appreciate the need for change. Clinton's supporters ought to take their heads out of their behinds and support the only person whose commitment to improving the ills of this country, Barack Obama.

    April 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. chas0x01

    This long stretch between primaries is going to kill Hillary. The Clintons are devastated that they basically lost in this way, and now Obama has a real chance to win Penn. OMG!

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. David from SC

    The problem here is NOT that she may have truly misspoke. But, rather she did not have her staff check the stoy out. Is this how she plan to run the Whitehouse if she were to become President? She have clearly proven that she is NOT ready to become the President of the USA.

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. jack

    Way to investigate the story before you start telling it. We can only hope you do a better job investigating facts prior to actually making any policy decisions.

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Mari Simone

    honestly this woman lies like a rug – I finally believe after all these years that Safire was right; she's a congenital liar.

    We need new people in charge of the country, not this retread.

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Kiz


    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Go Hillary

    I've went to a Hillary's rally in Texas. O' boy, this health story is nothing compared to those that been living here in Texas since Bush was governor. If Hillary had valuable quality time to hear Texans struggles she may say to herself "this country must be liberated!"

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Al, from NJ

    I know she was lying , as no hospital will refuse such treatment. May be a private walk in, but not hospital, at least because of malpractice suit.
    If the story was told to her by the police, then she should investigate it carefully. otherwise she make the same mistake bush made. is she going to rely on story told to her by CIA about another country , like the police did here !!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Lynn D

    CNN-This story will not hurt Senator Clinton in any way. She was told this story by a law enforcement officer. Senator Clinton had no reason to doubt this deputy sheriff. I heard yesterday that Senator Clinton's campaign attempted to verify the story but due to confidenatily laws she was unable to verify the story. Anyway, she believed the story to be true and this kind of stuff does happen on a daily basis so the message is still true. Lastly, I believe the poor woman's family should sue the hospital. I am a nurse who understands the HIPAA law. I actually helped write the policy and procedure for this law for my company and I give our annual HIPAA Training. Therefore, this hospital released information that could be against the HIPAA Law. It strikes me as wrong to automatically say Senator Clinton lied. She did not lie. She repeated the story as it was told to her. CNN is trying to make something out of nothing to hurt Senator Clinton. I want to caution you. This bias is angering a lot of people. CNN's bias may actually be helping Senator Clinton.

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Marilyn Stivers

    Nice to see the true colors of Hillary coming to the forefront so voters can make a wiser decision than those in states she's already won. The media stepped up an did their job as watchdogs of the Government. Thank you.

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Steve, New York, New York

    Clinton supporters, please . . . for the love of heaven . . .wake up. Is Ms. "Sniper Fire in Bosnia," Ms. "staged crying" the person to answer the phone at 3am?

    Independents and Republicans will NEVER vote for Hillary. Please face reality!

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. dethier

    According to Mrs Clinton she was no Tammy Wynett "standing by her man" which she actually was and I do believe she should have been. She also had to dodge bullets and she told and retold the story of the young pizza worker who couldn`t get medical help from a hospital. Three false statements suggest a pattern of untruths. If she becomes president I hope she checks statements re" incoming attacks" on the u.s. before responding. A lesson to all of us – we can be sure our sins will find us out.

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Uschi

    It's totally sickening to witness such a blatant attempt to manipulate the public for votes.

    Hillary is truly the 100 million dollar game player and lately she's trying on all sorts of different masks to appeal to people. Sorry folks, but this lady is VERY scary. Face the facts..... the Clinton's are VERY powerful AND very well CONNECTED! ( I question their motivations because of the way they have conducted themselves during these primaries) The former Senator Bill Bradley is on the right track about wanting the donors of the Clinton Library to be made public. I have a feeling that this money trail may become the beginning of the end.

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. HJI

    There should be a trap door onstage for every lie she tells. When we see her lying we'll just signal to let her fall through the trap door. Enough already, Hillary, we've got a lot of problems to solve and, we don't need someone who is factually challenged.

    April 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. G.N. Penley

    So Hillary has been lying again, still, forever. Who of us is surprised?

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    I don't understand why she has to make up stories to emphasize her point. I am sure there are plenty of true stories she could use. Maybe she should try to find some of them.

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. MP-Pennsylvania

    Here goes another Bush. Attacked Iraq on wrong intelligence. This is how she is ready from day one. I cant trust my life in her hands as the President of our country.

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Paulette, Cincinnati, Ohio

    The Obama supporters obviously did not watch the clip with the deputy telling what he had told Hillary or as usual they only hear what they want to hear. Another slur news report from CNN and comments from Obama idiots. Obama lovers I think more people than you know agrees if its not going to be "Hillary for President '08" they will vote "McCain for President '08". Take that one to the bank.

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. I am switching to Obama

    that's it hillary ...

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Paul Larocque

    If Senator Clinton has time, she should review the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act ( EMTLA), which was enacted by congress in 1986. This was enacted to prevent hospitals from refusing emergency medical treatment to patients who are unable to pay. I have worked in Emergency Medicine for over 15 years, and I have never seen anyone turned away from our hospital due to lack of insurance or inability to pay.

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 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