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. Joel

    Two observations:

    1. My perception has been that those supporting the Clintons believe the end justifies the means–it doesn't matter how the Presidency is obtained because the work they have to do there is just and true. A lot of their supporters seem to have the same mindset–this, and I am sure subsequent events, will not change their minds about supporting her. Incidents like this one, which tell us something about both the candidate and the organizations they set up and run, are about the only redeeming thing about this long running electoral process.

    2. Some have commented here about the real issue being that we have a broken health care system. I'll agree that the system may have some problems, but I am not convinced that getting the government involved is going to solve those problems. The areas that government intervention has helped over the years are few and far between. Look around you–the evidence is pretty clear and the results are draining your wallet and the nation's budget.

    April 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. felo

    Another lie!!! that's it am done with HRC.

    April 6, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Proud American

    Hillary lied... so whats new?!?

    April 6, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Susan / PA

    Combine this Health Care lie with Bosnia lie and Mark Penn lobbying for Columbia Trade deal for a year now and you get a very untrustworthy presidential candidate. It is also offensive to want the votes in Mich and Florida to count now after they broke the rules. Seat the delegates 50/50 in both states. What ARE we teaching our young people? Is it OK to distort the truth, negotiate deals secretly, and that rules are made to be broken? Some say this is just politics, well, I dont say that at all. Hillary Clinton may be a fighter, but she ISNT fighting for us at all!!! She cant even manage her own financials in her campaign. How is she going to run our country? We've already been ripped off by the Bush administration. People, lets not go there again.

    Vote Obama on April 22nd

    April 6, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. JF

    ""She had no reason to doubt his word"… sounds like her approach to her Iraqi war vote.
    "It's not always possible to fully vet them…" sounds like her approach to prewar intelligence data."

    Lets see, She should be able to see into mens harts, and She should be ALL knowing…. My God, what are you going to think when you find out She doesn't walk on water either?

    A REAL leader, for REAL people
    Hillary 08

    April 6, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Isabella

    Well , I just watched on TV the conservation of the man in question as he is telling his account of events to Hillary Clinton in person.
    It is very sad indeed.
    So for all the meanspirited Obama supporters , stop using a tragedy as this for your daily Hillary bashing.

    April 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. kathleen

    If Obama would have done the very same thing, He would suffer
    through "the wrath of Hillary". I think a person running for President
    of the USA should research the facts. Really!!!! Hillary sure researches
    facts on Obama. Surely her campaign staff could have checked this
    story before she opened her "big fat mouth."

    Obam 2008

    April 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Marc

    Once again, Hillary is showing her true colors. Bill and Hillary has been liars since Bill came into office. How much longer can she hurt the demacratic party. Ohio should be happy with themselves because they voted for Hillary because she is white and not for her values. If we let her into office, she will bring us all down.

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. jeff

    How can I explain this more clearly? Hill and Bill both are complete Liars. At this point, Obama is so much more of an honorable person. And isn't that what we are all looking for?

    April 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Art W Hyland

    Mrs Clinton didn't just now start embellishing, exaggerating and outright lying, she's been doing that for decades, and was fired for being fraudulant with evidence from a legal committee investigating President Nixon during the Watergate build-up. And who did she marry? Someone equally interested in power at any cost. It is sickening to see people in such high places willing to deceive in order to gain position. And Barack Obama has done it too, and continues to by trying to explain away his willingness to endorse extreme philosophies only when they become public.

    Nobody's perfect, but in the Democratic party's effort to find an emotionally satisfying candidate, they have eliminated the possibility of decent, normal people from emerging as their leaders, and only the deceptive can apply, and they did.

    April 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Christian, Tampa FL

    This is the problem that candidates can get into when they take stories from voters. Often times the stories get very distorted and the candidate gets in trouble. Coming after the Bosnia story, this only boosts the notion that Clinton is dishonest, though I don't think she had any ill intent with this story.

    April 6, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. s.positive

    Amazing how many who wants a liar for a leader...

    April 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    There is a correlation between Hillary's complete lack of effort to verify facts.
    1. Iraq war: Hillary cast her vote in favor of the Iraq war without reading the National Intelligence Report on Iraq
    2. Bosnia Sniper trip: Hillary failed to consult her self to check the veracity of the story. Turns out the truth was the only casualty that day.
    3. Hospital Stump speech: Hillary grabbed the most hear wrenching story for her stump speeches and again shows her disdain for the truth.
    Hillary has really come into her own by rebranding herself as the champion of her own version of "THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH"
    The truth shall overcome!

    April 6, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Don

    It's an old joke with a Hillary update. How can you tell when she's lying? When her lips are moving. One more of these blatant fabrications will be the "coup de grace" for her campaign.

    April 6, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Dan

    Like Wife, Like Husband! I'm not surprised. Her Husband lied when he was in the white House. She has lied several times in this campaign and will continue to lie. If you look up the word lie in the dictionary, you'd see a Clinton's face next to it. It's a Shame, America!

    April 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Ree

    I feel for the woman and her child, but to tell a story to emphasize a point of someone not covered under a health plan is a shame. This story was told to sway people to think HRC's health plan would have saved the person and her child. This is the same conventional thinking that G Bush used in his justification of the Iraq war. We need a leader to gather all the facts and redesign them to suit their interest. We need TRUTH!!!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. bladedancer

    Good grief... She needs an excorcism at this point...

    April 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. B Dogg

    hiLIEray clinton was your last book you wrote fiction????????????????????? I used to like you til I saw how you try to play to the camera. Now every time I see you trying to get all teary eye I start looking to see if I can catch you with the onion in your hand.

    April 6, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Spurschick

    All you Hillary haters. This is about the health care . Does Obama plan give all americans "universal" health care, I know my husband has a bad back and we can not afford the surgey even with our health insurance. So I want the person who is going to solve our health care

    Go HiLLARY GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    April 6, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. sam

    I see no reason why some people want to jump up and down and malign Hillary – she related an incident which she thought was true coming from a man she could trust – a story like this is heart wrenching to anyone – SPECIALLY TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO INSURANCE – I AM SURE MANY UNDERGO THIS TYPE OF DIFFICULT SITUATIONSy – STOP SPLITTING HAIRS – I AM SURE THERE ARE MANY SUCH MISERIES FACING THE UNINSURED.

    April 6, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Ron Mueller

    Last year I ran for a small local public office in my county. It was a part time position and with a full time job, I did my best to campaign when I had an opportunity. It was a basic one-man campaign of door knocking, civic gatherings, town hall meetings, church functions, or any place there was a gathering of people that would listen to my speech.

    My opponent was the incumbent and rumors were plentiful about a checkered past that involved guilty verdicts in federal court on human rights violations. Many people told me stories and would often pull me aside to ask why I hadn't brought them up during the first month I was made aware of this information.

    The reason was simple; I hadn't had a chance to track down the facts of those stories before I was willing to commit them in a public forum. When time and money was available, I spent time at the federal building collecting the facts. When I finally mentioned them in public, I had case numbers, verdicts, and transcripts. My facts were solid and weren't disputed by my opponent.

    Senator Clinton tells us she trusted her resource and had no reason to doubt him. I find that a hard stretch that with so much attention on a presidential campaign, she would forgo a background check on an emotional stump speech that was sure to be fact checked by the media.

    If one guy running for a small local office is able to fact check before speaking publicly, I do not believe a presidential campaign with hundreds of resources and tens of millions of dollars was unable to do the same.

    My opinion is that if a person is willing to lie to get into office then they are most certainly predisposed to lying once they get into office. Perhaps Senator Clinton should step back and ask herself it being the president is worth the lies it will take for her to appear as the better candidate.

    I think the answer is solidly NO.

    April 6, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Kathy Phillips

    This is coming from a nurse of 18years, with ER experience. First thing, there is a law called EMTLA, all patients have to be checked in the ER, regardless of their insurance or money! Secondly, Clinton is just feeding us another of her lies. Pay attention PA, you can't trust anything she says. Who will answer the phone at 3am, hopefully, not a liar.

    April 6, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Roland

    Another lie again? For how long will she lie? Is it this the kind of experience she had been boasting about? The only experience she probably has is in lying. This is unbelievable.

    April 6, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Dean from Maine

    We have now entered into the blue phase of the Clinton campaign...where all deeds get revealed for what they actually are...a stain upon our country that negates the need for further explaination...you will not get 'any of my business'...job interview over.

    April 6, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Michigan 4 Clinton

    Outstanding Journalism once again by CNN, heres another pat on the head- you have spun yet another negative story about Hillary Clinton.
    She has raised cruical concerns about today's health care crisis, that 46 Million Americans face each day. Where are Obama's ideas and solutions for America Health Care?

    Hillary R. Clinton = President of the United States 2008
    Yes We Can!

    April 6, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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