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. Ken

    Why don't you just do us a favor and drop out!

    April 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Jen, New York, NY

    At least Clinton is consistent...consistently lying.

    April 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. G$$

    If she couldn't vet the story, she should never have used it in her stump speeches.

    April 6, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. PKS

    I guess it is a liitle too late. Ohio and Texas voters already believed the lies.

    April 6, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. demo craxy

    It is simple: this woman is a pathological lier, if all of the lies (Bosnia, Tax returns, Colombia and Canada being contacted by her campaign, Bill's hatred and racism, ) still are not enough for her supporters and the party leaders and superdelegates and delegates ,

    I believe they will elect her and we will have another Bush, she is worse than Bush............

    by God, why is the DNC not asking her to step out. she lies bluntly and gets away with it, she ends up making jokes in tv.

    April 6, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Kenneth Woodard

    Another example of what polticians will say to win your vote. Can we believe even one story or situation that a politician uses to get our vote? It has been proven that some will say anything to the general public. The sad thing is that the general public will believe it with no questions asked. When it turns out to be a lie, we forget what they said and move on to the next item. When will we hold our politicians accountable for the lies they spew?

    If it is a candidate you support, everything they say is candy. If it is a candidate you do not support, it is poison.

    Once Barak or Hillary or John is elected, how will your daily life change on January 21, 2009? Will your mortgage payment go down, will you get that raise, will health care cost come down, will the War in Iraq end, will your neighborhood be crime free, will gas prices come down?

    Think back to past elections......enough said...I think.

    Go Democrats 08

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Maria

    I have no clue what I should believe and what I should not believe about Clinton now.

    I am a retired teacher. I have donated to her campaign because I really felt that I need to see a woman President and I really trusted her credibility.

    But I guess- she is not the one.

    How can she lie about a baby?

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Kevin Ray

    Clinton will say anything, do anything, and stop at nothing to get the nomination. A true political prodigy hard at work. Sad thing is our government is full of them!

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. willowood

    What else do we need to know about this candidate? How funny that CNN continually holds Senator Obama's feet to the fire about his Pastor's words, but seems to regress when Senator Clinton's own words are outright lies. Please apply the same standard when reporting the facts...mispoke means lie.

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Brenda

    Hillary needs to verify stories or information before she repeats them. The continous fabrication of information may eventually have dire consequences. She is exercising poor judgment when she does not research and verify information before presenting it to the American public. Individuals who demonstrate this type of characteristic is deemed untrustworthy.

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. nothing new

    Ooh shocker. Hillary Clinton not telling the truth during her campaign. She runs her campaign like Bush ran the country up to war. . .one misstatement after another.

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Charlotte

    correction, idealism is real and will be very important to the next President.

    April 6, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. PA

    Hillary does not stand with truth and honesty. She and her campaign feel comfortable creating stories to support her positions. It is very difficult to tell if she even realizes that she is lying. That is not a quality that we want as a President.

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Sarah, Oklahoma

    This is the 2nd false story she has told. This is getting ridiculous. How are we going to ever be able to trust her as a President if she never tells the truth?

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. goodlife


    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Sam

    There we go again. This woman will do absolutelly anything to get elected. Enough with the lies and machinations.

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Jacob

    Does anyone else see this as Clinton making up stories to get people to vote for her out of fear? I mean any intelligent person knows that in an emergency a hospital cannot refuse a patient (no matter the circumstances) by law. Its funny how she then threw her supporter under the bus. Sounds like the thing that would happen to us if she gets elected.

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Sarah

    That is interesting. I wonder what comment Clinton will come up with as to why swhe made this mistake now. I don't know why people believe her. No one is perfect, but still.

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Jack - Miami

    Another lie, bad judgment or did not do her homework like the intelligence reports on Iraq. Is this really what all of the HRC supporters want in a candidate?

    We'll be waiting in the Fall.

    McCain 08

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Fernando

    It is increbibly sad how biased CNN has become.
    I have been paying attention and logging the headlines that are put on the home page, and nothing that would be benefitial to Hillary and harmful to Obama is displayed on the main page.

    I thought CNN claimed to be unbiased and an tv channel that has no political agenda, I was wrong.

    Good Job CNN, keep ruining Hillary's chances.

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Roy

    My daughter was in the hospital for an operation. The Dr. nicked her liver and sewed her up! Gangreen set in and she almost died. The HOSPITAL LOST the FILM of the operation and the DR left town. I don't believe anything a HOspital says about anything!

    April 6, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. lee

    Hairllary is caught with another lie again. Next time something like that happen she should use their 109 millions to pay for it.

    April 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. justobserve

    People have to check whatever Clinton says from now because her staff won't, just to make sure. You never know whether she says it like the story of running under the sniper's fires to suit her purpose or maybe she is learning to "talk to people" just like her husband to earn $51,000,000.

    April 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Jim

    Shame on you CNN and the whole left wing of the Demoratic Party. I am sick and tired of your shameful attack and insulting headlines on Senator Clinton. Believe me no matter how you spin the story to fit your agenda, middle of the road democrats and for that matter, middle of the road republicans will reject your cheap propoganda. You are not doing your duty to this country by attacking the best hope we have to win this election. STOP PUSHING OBAMA DOWN OUR THROAT. IT IS NOT WORKING. HE IS FAKE WITH A THIN RESUME FULL OF CONTRADICTIOIN.

    April 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Victoria Lindley

    Hah, well go figure !!!!!

    April 6, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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