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. Bill Denton, TX

    Let's see....why would someone be willing to try this load of hooey after getting caught red-handed?

    In a word, arrogance.

    It has undermined her campaign from the beginning. She told the media she 'was going to be the nominee,' failed to lowball expectations for Iowa, compared the state unfavorably to Mississippi (which she also lost), cried on TV, had a victory celebration in Florida for delegates that weren't even supposed to count, had no plan what to do when the 'clinch early' strategy failed, and thought she could get away with lying about Bosnian sniper fire.

    Now this.

    Anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton is a 'change' from the arrogance of the last five (in particular) years needs a mental evaluation.

    April 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Tim

    I hope this campaign season sends a message to the other politicians out there that the days of their unverifiable folksy home-spun "I know an average Joe who...." stump lines are numbered, and with the Internet and instantaneous research and communication they can be exposed for what they are: lies.

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Ben

    Dont tell Chelsea Clinton or even think of asking her why cause she'll probably tell you its none of your business!!

    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. President of Students for Obama at Univeristy of Nevada

    Common Clinton you're hurting the party, just give up and support the next President of the United States!


    April 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. leon


    April 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. abeba

    Those crying on the campaign trails are not working so misspeaking and lying is the alternate.

    April 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. VC, MD

    Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar. She has only 7 year experience and claims 35 year experience. She became senator with an eye on the white house to have some real experience. But then she goes on to claims 35 years of experience so that she looks more experienced than Obama and other more experienced candidates like Biden etc.. As she does not really have that experience and can't match Obama's intelligence, she makes up stories to play on people's emotions. And media starts praising her human side. In fact Hillary has no human side. She is a selfish lady who will do anything to get the privilege of living in the white house.

    April 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Lance

    She's going for the trifecta of lies.

    1. Sniper fire in Bosnia lie is repeated for weeks until someone finds the video of her at the airport listening to an eight year old Bosnian girl read her poetry as a marching band plays. Where's the sniper?

    2. The pregnant girl at hospital story without insurance dies story she tells for months until someone investigates and figures out the whole thing is a fabrication.

    3. She was against NAFTA until her schedule from the white house is released and everybody realizes that she attended many, many meetings to support Nafta attended by others that were also pro NAFTA.

    and while we're at it, lets not forget the lies about the planted audience questions in Iowa, about how she had said she didn't prepare questions ahead of time and how that specific girl was given a canned question to ask her.

    And then, we can't also forget the lie about promising not to campaign in Michigan and Florida and then swearing up and down she never did that when push came to shove.

    And then lets not also forget the lie about how she was totally for at large caucuses in Vegas, Nevada and had agreed to them months beforehand by signing on the dotted line to support them, until it came down to a few weeks beforehand and she was behind in the polls and she suddenly decides that at large caucuses are un Amercian and unfair and should be challenged, (because she always loses caucuses).

    This woman is not even a good liar. she's a very bad liar and we need to simply toss her campaign on the dustbin of history and get moving with the real campaign against McCain before McCain walks away with the Constitution shredded in hand.

    Obama 08. Please. For the love of all that is good and just!

    April 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. abeba

    Those cries on the campaign trails are not working so misspeaking and lying is the alternate.

    April 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. La Raza

    just drop out of sight, Please!

    April 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Pho

    First Bosnia, now this. Why am I not surprised?

    April 6, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Kevin - Jonesboro, GA

    I will criticize Hillary for a lot of things but can not entirely fault her for this. Her campaign staff really should have done a better job of vetting the story but the larger issue of national healthcare was the more important aspect of the story. Still don't like her but not because of this misstep.

    April 6, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. js

    This is what I hear from Hillary every time she talks now...... LIE, LIE, LIE LIE, and then LIE, LIE, LIE,LIE.

    April 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. mike

    WOW – this one stuns me. Now I'm starting to feel sorry for her. She needs professional help. Good to know she can afford the best – maybe Dr Phil?

    April 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Andrew Bynum

    Cal Jim 2: Are you a complete idiot? No matter what the hospital did, it is possible that she could have died, along with the baby. Unless we know the exact circumstances of what happened (which we won't, because individual medical records are sealed), there is no way to blame the hospital for that. The problem is that Clinton made up the story (or at least didn't pursue it with due diligence), which is part of a much larger pattern of deception.

    April 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. JT

    There are indeed millions of Americans without healthcare insurance. Why tell a terribly sad story about one individual and run the risk of getting part of the story wrong? It doesn't make sense to tell this story as though you believe it with all your heart when in fact you were so glad to get it that you don't even have your people check it out? I guess if she likes the story she doesn't bother looking into it for herself. Too many 3 AM phone calls?

    April 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. michigan

    she likes to add to stories to make them sound more dramatic,problem is shes a liar and already lying to the americans did you hear me ALREADY LYING she has no morals when it comes to this election

    April 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Jenn

    This story proves that this woman will do and say anything to get elected. If the hospital was truly at fault for the deaths of this child and mother, we as a nation would have heard about it and this hospital would have been sued big time. I'm sure this dead mother's relatives would have filed a lawsuit pronto. The first time we hear about it is when this liar speaks about it. You would think that with the money she's paying her advisors they would make sure they had all the facts before they allowed her to tell this story.

    Either way, do we want someone as President who constantly puts their foot in their mouth. And also, do we want a President who has advisors around her who won't do their jobs?

    I was with Hillary before, but i made the right decision in switching my vote for Obama. She is truly the Tonya Harding of politics!!!

    April 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Michigan 500

    Why people waste their time to go out and listen to her anymore is amazing. There are so many videos out now of her embellishments she looks foolish.

    April 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Karen in Cape Cod

    Can we be fair in this news report? A local sheriff deputy told Clinton this story, and she thought it was accurate!! She did not make it up! Lighten up media!

    April 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. JC

    Just read from abc news that New York Sun reported Clintons have sold the donors list a while ago. The Clintons might be too smart to say something donors want to hear and then sell them out at the end. I wish Clintons are not telling voters what they want to hear and then sell them out.

    April 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Brian

    More lies...

    April 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. tonya

    I think all that sniper fire damaged her hearing and ability to tell the truth pooooooorrrrrr hillary

    April 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Bob, Phoenix

    This fairy tale, "pinned down by sniper fire in Bosnia", "Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center when the planes hit". . . .it would be hilarious if not so tragic. This woman is either psychotic, delusional, or just so desperate for adulation that she is willing to risk exposure and mockery from every common sense American out there

    She should hire Leno – his stuff really is funny, and he is smart enough not to claim that any of it is true!

    April 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Trish

    I hope Hillary hasen't ordered her designer pant suit for her imagined inaguration. There an't gonna be one.

    April 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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