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. nate

    Is this woman capable of speaking without lying?

    April 6, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. molly

    GO HILLARY !!!! I feel it is now time for obama to drop out of the race – "for the good of the DNC party" His background & judgment are just far too questionable to be elected President of the UNITED STates!

    April 6, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Michael

    So why is it everytime Clinton lies, the Obama supporters yell for her to quit. OBAMA HAS LIED JUST AS OFTEN! They are all politicians they lie all the time. GET OVER IT

    April 6, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. John

    yes we have a broken health care system but we all know that this issue here is Hillary's ability to be "ready on day one", she does not have the ability to remember a story that happened to her, nor the ability to relay a story that was told to her by someone else with out checking it out to see if maybe its true or not. she was willing to put her name behind this story on "i had no reason to doubt....." in a way i feel sorry for her, she can not be as stupid as she seems to be. her camp must be having a good laugh at expence.

    I don't think she ready to run gilligans island let alone the USA!

    was the girl under sniper fire too??? that would make the story even better Hillary.

    April 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Sam

    I was shocked to hear on CNN that Hillary made a joke of her sniper fire lies. Instead of apologizing to the people she's all smiles about it. I think she does not have regards to the people.

    April 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Eki Ehizele

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Dig?
    This obama guy must be quite something to make Her Royal Highness comit such unforced errors. Hmmmm.

    April 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. fortysixandtwo

    Why is everyone blaming Hillary for this. She didn't mention any names or the name of the facility simply because the story was not 100 percent confirmed. However, I work at a hospital, and I KNOW THAT STORIES LIKE THIS ARE NOT FARFETCHED OR UNCOMMON. NONPROFIT HOSPITALS CAN AND WILL NOT GIVE YOU CARE IF YOU'RE UNINSURED. Unless it's a life or death situation, hospitals can turn you away especially if you have a history of unpaid medical bills. All that hospitals are required to do is stablize you then they release you. In her story the woman was not in an emergency situation at the time. She said they did treat her later when it became an emergency, costing MORE money than if they would've treated her in the first place. And that's a sad fact. So don't think for a second this sort of thing does not happen. CNN I'VE LOST ALL RESPECT FOR YOU.

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. kurt

    Hillary is so quick to badmouth the nation that she fails to vet this stuff. This is the absolute last straw for me. I'm done with this ridiculous, pandering, untruthful dope.

    April 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Tyler

    The fact that Clinton is dropping the story from her speeches (I would compare it to pleading 'no contest') pretty much proves it was a lie.

    Unless you're one of those delusional supporters who still believe her in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

    April 6, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Gerry (AUSTRIA)

    Scrub a pig, wash a pig, A pig remains a pig. You cannot seperate Hillary from lying

    April 6, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Sid

    When will the women of the United States realize that it is better to vote for someone with credibility than a woman who has repeatedly about everything. If this is the scenario when she has time to think and respond, I wonder what will happen if she becomes the president and gets a 3am call. How can she be trusted to pick up the phone and have a good judgement and convey the truth to the people.

    April 6, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. debra

    I have no idea why Hillary Clinton feels America deserves her help. The Clintons earn enough money to live quite comfortably anywhere. They actually make less money when in the white house than they do out of it. And the bobamabots slander and malicious comments certainly don't make it any better. But they are just incredibly good people who think they can help the world. Unlike bobama who thinks like his Prosperity minister, Wright, that he can help himself. It must actually piss bobamabots off that anyone would try and help anyone else. Their phylosophy is to help themselves. Seriously! Read todays artical about "Modern black church shuns King's message".

    April 6, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. MDEAL

    Is it just me or has everybody else also noticed how hypocritical Hillary looks lately with that overly enthused look she manages to contrive using disproportionately enlarged eyes and an artificial, fixed smile? The whole Hillary persona seems to exude a convoluted, complex, colossal lie. I don't think the term "ageing gracefully" has ever been a part of her vocabulary. With $109 M in my bank account and a whole bunch of fables in my repertoire to narrate, I'd happily renounce my political aspirations and go on a world-wide speaking tour even if I can never find an audience that would care to listen to my prattles. Why America continues to give ear to Hillary’s tall tales at the expense of their valuable time really befuddles me.

    April 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. David

    How many lies does she have to tell before people stop believing her? Shame on you Clinton supporters.

    April 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Suzie

    This lady is a pathological liar. YES SHE IS! I'm convinced!!!

    OBAMA '08

    April 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. nathan

    Another case of 'mis-speak'!

    April 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. kim KY

    But before it was a deputy sheriff that told her. Now that the sheriff's department is investigating which deputy sheriff told her that story now all of the sudden someone at a house party told her. She lies about her lying lies.

    April 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Truetone

    Ready on day one

    And, that (imaginary) day comes.

    1. Iranian president calls (at 3 a.m. ?) and tells her Iran does not have nuclear ambitions.

    She had no reason to doubt his word.

    2. Osama Bin Laden calls (again, at 3 a.m. perhaps ?) and tells Hillary that he has given up terrorism and has now become a Salvation Army volunteer.

    She had no reason to doubt his word either.

    How is that for a (imaginary) "President" with "Experience" ?

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Kevin O'Neill

    Why isn't anyone pointing out that Hillary's claim to misrepresent her situation in Bosnia due to sleep depravation contradicts her claim to be the best one to answer the phone at 3 am? Shouldn't we be concerned that she may beome confused and give the wrong comand?

    She faults Bush for jumping on information to support his cases (WMD in Iraq) but didn't she just do the same with this tragic story about the woman's hospital experience?

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    Another "misspoke" by Senator Clinton – it seems to be happening often. Is this the kind of President we want? We will have to be truly concerned if she does become President. She will be having meetings with elected officials, nternational leaders, etc. on behalf of the people of the U.S. Maybe this "misspeaking" is just being used to get elected and once elected she will stop – I doubt it. Can she be trusted to tell the truth and do what is in the best interest of the people?

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. troy

    Obama is getting a free ride whether people want to admit it or not! Hillary is a joke and a liar! Anyone, anyone that believes her or defends her is an idiot plain and simple. Any objective person can see the reality of what is happening in this election. Obama is an empty suit and Clinton is grasping for power at all costs! The real tragedy is this is the "best" the Democratic Party has chosen to offer. McCain is selling out to the conservative right. Trust me when I tell you that George Bush is not the only reason the country is going in the wrong direction.

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. gerry

    Yet another lie by Lady Macbeth?

    It is frightening to imagine what she would or wouldn't say or do just to become president.

    April 6, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Capurna Green

    Another one of the Clinton's lies.

    April 6, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Here's the difference between Obama and Clinton:

    Obama supporters call Hillary a liar, and can back it up with proof like this.

    Hillary supporters call Obama a liar and can't point to anything.

    April 6, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Tex

    The "misspeaks" just keep coming and coming.

    April 6, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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