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. Patty

    When are you people supporting this woman going to wake up and
    see her for what she is? Will she once again say she "misspoke"?
    Oh God help us..... she is just a liar – over and over saying untrue things to her benefit.
    Will the Democrates PLEASE do something to stop her now?

    April 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Senator Clinton,

    Look like you have a credibility problem, and I don't think that will bode well for your future aspiration. Even though you might think you are ready from day 1, but once people don't trust what you say, nobody will listen to you. And once people don't listen to you, you can't effectively lead.

    April 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. RSH in MD

    What's most surprising to me about this ticker is the number of comments calling Hillary on yet another lie. Where are the Hillary supporters to defend their candidate? Obviously, she is indefensible–one again. She (and they) should read the writing on the wall and drop out of the race now. Get behind the future President–Barack Obama!

    April 6, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Tim

    How do any of you who are posting on here "no that this was a lie by Clinton"? Perhaps it was told to her. Afterall, in this wealthy country of ours where the health care costs keep going up, far exceeding inflation, the service keeps going down and patients have been turned away or there have been recorded cases where hospitals have simply dumped patients out on the streets and left them there. Do any of you who immediately smeer Clinton...ever think before you type?

    April 6, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Patrick, Chicago, IL

    wait i remember this; Hillary delivered the baby herself while under sniper fire and a artillery barrage, while simultaneously flying the women to the hospital in her apache helicopter fighting terrorists in her pant-suit!!!!

    Just another far fetched story from the mind of Hillary Clinton

    April 6, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Sly in Seattle

    This woman says anything to get votes..

    I used to support her, but no more.

    OBAMA 08!

    April 6, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. debra

    Words like they would do anything to win. The Clinton machine. IF Democrats flee to the Republican party it will be on the Bobamabots and their messiah

    April 6, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. len -texas

    Well she continues her lying steak.

    Did anyone forget the lie she told the state of New York. The one she promised she would create jobs but in fact she had a -250,000 instead. when will it ever quit. Lets just see how long this story runs in the media... maybe 1 day.....

    Get a real hillary

    April 6, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. JohnNC

    Another lie for votes.

    April 6, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Kareem From Hampton, VA

    I guess speeches DO matter!!

    April 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. joe

    the media as allways going after hillary but hiding when it comes to obama a person the country dont know what he stand for or what his plans are

    April 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Greg Turner

    Hil "lie" ry Clinton. Sheesh. Our politicians need a George Washington refresher course in honesty. The cherry tree wasn't as bad as the stuff she is saying.

    April 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Dmnkly

    Calling Clinton a liar here is overreaching - there's no reason (other than her track record) to believe she knew the story was false.


    This is yet another in a long litany of countless examples of her total lack of concern with the truth. It's easy to say, "Oh, she was told this story by a police officer and had no reason to doubt it was true," but the fact is that at some point she had to think to herself "whether or not this story is true DOESN'T MATTER." And THAT is a shining example of Clinton's relationship with the truth. If this were an isolated incident, one might give her the benefit of the doubt and call it a error in judgment to trust the story without checking on it. But it is NOT an isolated incident. Whether she's taking stories she doesn't know to be true and representing them as fact, making misleading representations, playing word games to obfuscate the truth or telling flat-out lies, she has demonstrated time and time again that in her world, the truth only has value if it serves her purposes.

    From most people, this would be a matter of poor judgement. From someone with a history such as hers, it's yet another brushstroke in a painting that clearly illustrates her total lack of concern with facts. Leaders who manipulate facts to support their positions when they should be looking at the facts to determine what their positions should be are, quite frankly, dangerous.

    It's a shame that so many fail to see or willfully ignore the seriousness of that problem.

    April 6, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Mauricio Galvao Anderson

    Oops, she did it again!!! Hillary can´t you mend yourself???

    April 6, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. PLM

    Once again, Sen. Clinton is proving that she will do or say anything it takes to get power. "Misspoke" is the same as lying when you don't care whether what you say is the truth or not.

    April 6, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Janice Hough

    If she mis-speaks like this in broad daylight, heaven help us what she might say if she were awakened at 3am.

    April 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. dinesh

    This story, I believe on the part of the Clintons. But being idiots and not checking your facts doesn't make the story excusable. Before you use these things in your speeches, you've got to think. I admit Obama has messed up in some of his speeches, when not crediting Patrick Duval with the "Just words" comment. But seriously, when people already think your dishonest, don't give them more reason.

    Democrat '08

    April 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. MH

    I was a big Hillary supporter, but my God...she has more money than God herself....she has the power of the brightest minds and the latest technology....how could she POSSIBLY allow these kinds of *mistakes* to even get within 100 yards of her campaign without having THOROUGHLY investigated them to make 100% certain that what she is saying is TRUE!!!! It's downright HUMILIATING.

    Furthermore...her suddenly dropping these things like hot potatoes only ccements her guilt that what she was saying was NOT true. The least she could do is defend herself. ...this is what we were told...this is what we found when we looked into this story....

    I am completely embarrased to say I once supported her. I hate Obama so this lifelong left wing liberal tree hugging democrat is actually going to vote for McCain. Thanks Hillary.

    April 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Kareem From Hampton, VA

    Karma is something aint it! This is the down side to throwing the kitchen sink!!

    April 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Sam

    I do not think Americans want to elect a president who will tell world leaders something then go back home to say to the American people she misspoke.

    I think Hillary should drop out and stop hurting the Democrats.

    April 6, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. ty

    more lies from the clinton storybook of lies

    April 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Jermaine

    Hillary campaign is imploding, maybe before they start telling stories they should check the facts. The inability to desern the truth speaks volume of the judgement Billary will measure up to in the White House. Her camapign has failed miserably from "DAY ONE". It fail her and us ob the issues of
    1. NAFTA

    When the Colombian Government severe ties with PENN it proves that his message to them was that Hillary supports COLOMBIA Free Trade, when he came out and say it was an error in judgement it proves she and Penn are speaking out of both side of their mouths. Who are they lieing to< 1. The Colombian or 2. Us Americans? PA will do well to VOTE for OBAMA. CHANGE AMERICA NEEDS and it never have been so URGENT


    April 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. PF Harlock

    At best, Hillary Clinton was incompetent. At worst, she was dishonest.

    Sound like any current presidential administration you know?

    April 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Susan Pottstown, PA

    You know. I'm not a Hillary person in any way at all. Please let's make that evidently clear! I'm an Obama supporter. Nevertheless, I think in this case she just didn't do her homework. I don't think she intentionally told this story as a bareface lie. She used it because she does want to get something done about healthcare in this country. That is commendable. Having said that, Hillary you've got to do your homework! You've already told a whopper about Bosnia. Anything else that comes out of your mouth even if it's a legit mistake is going to be seen as less than candid. Before she opens her mouth again she will have to have every syllable scrubbed for dirt. Her very future as a Washington insider will depend on it. Perhaps she may not ascend to the highest office in the land at this time, but I'm sure she'll want to hang onto her senate seat or maybe even a future Gov. seat. At this point, I gotta tell ya even that may be in jeopardy if she doesn't start telling the truth.

    April 6, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Kathy

    This actually happened to my husband. He has heart problems. On one trip to the ER , we were told that he owed the hospital some money. The would not treat him until we paid them $100. He had insurance then and still does.

    April 6, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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