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. Frank

    I heard there was sniper fire too while the woman was turned away from the hospital!

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Frank Esper, Cleveland Ohio

    The reality was that the woman and her baby were killed by sniper fire.

    Lucky for hillary, she made a corkscrew landing to save the day!

    April 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Lisa Ray

    How can a person tell so many lies.
    1) The speech about bosia is a pre planned one. How a person present such a graphic picture in front of so many people on so many occations. Also she has never been in the same situation in any other country ( under fire from snipers). If she was under sniper fire from any where in the world, then I can understand that there is chance for Mispoke. Hillary is nothig but a bunch of lies. She will do any thing for win the elections.

    2) What kind of president Hillary will be if she doest even check the facts before making decisions. She went with ( believed) the story a stranger and since the store looked good for her, she went and told it to public with out checking any facts. Another example of – Hillary will do any thing to win the election.

    Request to all Americans please stop this liar from becoming the next president. We can't afford for have another president who lies most of the time. Please stop hillary as early as possible...

    April 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. I P

    LIAR !

    April 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Nancy

    Once again, she's making it up as she goes along. I am so glad she is being called on these stupid comments that she continues to make. Good grief, you'd think by now she'd know that we realize what a big liar she is.

    April 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. S. Coffman

    Another Hillary fabrication but does this bother Hillary, I doubt it. Last week she went on the Jay Leno show and actually made a joke about her fear that she might be late for her appearance with Jay because she might have gotten pinned down by Sniper fire on her way to the show. She actually thought her comment was hilarious and laughed louder than the audiance did. No remorse for having fabricated the story, no apology to her supporters or voters for her misrepresentations to them......She actually thought the whole situation was funny, kind of like, I lied, I got caught, so what, ha, ha.............Now we hear of another story that is not true, Don't expect her to feel bad or remorseful. Lying apparently is a way of life with the Clintons..........Wow, scary, wonder how many "stories" she's gotten away with. No wonder she survived Bill's lies, it's a way of life with the Clintons........................................

    April 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Mari Simone

    In reading these comments you know what the saddest thing about Hillary supporters is? That they're stuck in the 1990's "you go, girl!" Oprah-mentality.

    The world has moved on; it's not the 90's anymore. Hillary is a bridge backward, not forward.

    April 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Arkansan in Little Rock

    The Clintons have no respect for the truth. One more example of how Hillary will stretch the truth in the hope of winning.

    April 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. John

    Well, that explains why the woman died....I go to school at Ohio University and O'Bleness hospital probably still uses treatments from the Civil War era, I would NEVER go there for anything

    April 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    i thought this Clinton machine was so powerful and organized that it couldn't be stop? all i hear is in house fighting and back door deals.. i will take an so call inexperience honest trustworthy politician any day over a over rated unelectable untrustworthy ignorant Clinton machine!!!! you Hillary supporters have to wake up and really ask yourself what have the Clinton's done for you in there last 4yrs in office???? Sandals and law suits against them!!! Hillary supporters you are not going to see gas prices at 1$ a gallon again you not going to see more money in your pockets when bill was in office. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Tim in Canada

    Avinash A,

    The reason so many people still have faith in her is race related.It is the only logical explanation.

    April 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. petesla

    Even if it was true – how was this woman going to pay for a baby if she didn't have $100 for prenatal care?

    Typical bleeding heart liberal BS that doesn't stand up to common sense.

    April 6, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Antoinette

    Well, its not her fault

    She was just repeating what she was told. She shoulda checkd the story out first though but i dont think it was her fault or a lie on her part

    And this is coming from an Obama Supporter. In my opinion, the Bosnia story was worse. Now that was a blatant lie

    April 6, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. JS Virginia

    I wouldn't expect anything less from the Clinton Campaign...

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. From NC

    Com'e on people! Give the senator a break. As busy as she is, mis-speak, mis-read, misplace, mistake, and even... mississippi are common thing. :-)))

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Blayze Kohime

    I am an Obama supporter. However, if this story isn't true, its probably not Clinton's fault. If someone lied to her at a campaign event, then they were a fool and put her in a bad light, but she wouldn't be the first of us to believe a sap story from a dishonest person.

    April 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Rusty

    There is an aspect to this story, the Bosnia story and others that the media is really not addressing. Which is why don't people within the Clinton campaign fact check what she says and why don't they tell her when she is mistaken.

    Bosnia story in point: in all the hours of stories around the Bosnia "mistatement" no one in the media brought up the fact that Chelsea was there with her in Bosnia, yet never spoke up and said "mom, my account of what happened is pretty different, maybe you should change the way you tell the story....".

    What this tells me, is something much more insidious than these silly mis-statements that come out every few days, it tells me that people within the Clinton campaign are afraid to be straight with her, to tell her the truth.

    As a president it is absolutely critical that people around a president be free to give their advice truthfully and to be comfortable with that. If they don't, than you get situations like Irag and the bay of pigs.

    Personally, this is the real story here.

    April 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. vivian

    Worry about anti-American speeches "never heard" by Obama.

    April 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Jim in FL

    Did Hillary mention that he poor pregnant woman had to dodge sniper fire on her way to the ER too !

    April 6, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. 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 wake up and support the only person who is committed to addressing the ills of this country, Barack Obama.

    April 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Michael C Wolski

    This episode will not hurt her.It's a FIXED election, and it's HER TURN. When will people accept that?? The party boss,DEAN, is already changing "RULES" to help her candidacy, and all her lies will be someone elses fault.Good luck voting for her Pennsylvannia.

    April 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. CHLOE


    April 6, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. IndependentVoter

    She's a liar. She's a liar. SHE'S A LIAR. How many times does the American public have to be presented with evidence of her forked tongue before they say "ENOUGH!"?

    April 6, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Scott

    I don't understand why she has to embellish things. I'm concerned that if she were president that she would do the same thing with other dignitaries. She would hurt our credibility as a nation and could inflame things with some unnecessary embellishment. As you can see from all of the comments, this isn't the first time. There seems to be a pattern, and the unfortunate thing is "everyone" knows it, even leaders in other countries. She's crippled herself already. It's not that her policies, if she's telling the truth, are bad. It's a serious character issue.

    Thank you,


    April 6, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. wisconsin2001

    Obama, please makes a mistake soon! Don't let Clinton's supporters say media are all bias against her. Obama, I know this Clinton's miss-speak is all set up by your campaign and is all your fault even you didn't do anything, right?

    Be reasonable, Clinton's supporters, if you could. I understand this story could be an issue of "mis-communication." But why blaming media and Obama??

    Our health care system needs a fixing, but by whom? To me, by a true commander-in-chief , not by a story teller!

    April 6, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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