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. Paul

    Is there any more doubt which Democratic candidate is the unelectable one? It is Hillary. This story and her "mis-spoke" about Bosnia is why the public is so tired of the Clinton's. To borrow one of their previous campaign mantras, it's the TRUTH stupid!

    April 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Goody - OR.

    I think it's sad when you can't even trust a member of law enforcement to tell the truth!

    After we discuss the many misspeaks Obama has made, I'll worry about Hillary!

    April 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. gman

    So PA when are you going to put aside your fear of change and vote for the future. If not for you…then your children. Time and time again, Clinton has demonstrated she's not ready to lead this country. Just think about one thing: How has she managed the single most important thing in her life…her campaign tobe President of the United States of America. From the mismanagement of funds (excessive spending and not paying bills), poor judgement in advisers (Penn), her misspeak on subjects (Bosnia and young lady dying), to saying two different things on important issues that effect our everyday lives (the vote to go to war without reading the proposed bill). Now just stop and ask yourself, is this how she will run the country? If you don't think it's representative, then by all means vote for her 22 Apr. But if you say "I'm not sure"…then you need to consider now may be the time for change. Rememebr she said this was a job interview…and knowing what you know now…would you hire her? If so, then that's fine, but if not, let's move on and vote for change.

    April 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. Connie

    So typical of the Clinton campaign - tell a story first, check the facts later. Pathetic!

    April 6, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. erika morgan

    Get over it people, all politicians lie, the art of hyperbole is indeed the politician's art. Maybe we are at fault, if we would not be so ready to accept only our preconceived idea of the future as gospel; and could bring ourselves to understand the realities of other lives in the world and the necessity of our personal contributions to make possible the flourishing of each genius, just maybe we could give quarter its due. Just think of the difference, folks setting an example to politicians to treat all with respect, agreeing to disagree when necessary and finding common ground where possible.

    April 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. steven j stevens

    who are you folks kidding, if this story was told to you by a policeperson thereis little doubt in my mind thata youo would ot ave repeated the story ...more sosince it was a sheriff who related the story to you....you people will do anything totry to put hillary up as a liar...you are a bunch of hippocrites.

    April 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Nas from PA

    Just one more lie or extreme exaggeration (whatever you want to call it) to the many others. She's a joke. I vote Apr 22 and she definitely won't be getting mine.

    April 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Bill in Illinois

    Aaahhh – another "lie du jour". To borrow a well known advertising phrase – "Don't worry, we'll make more". I have faith that in true Hillary fashion her campaign will come up with another lie just as good as this one. Hill baby has obviously figured out that she can't win on qualifications so she is pandering to the pity voters now.

    April 6, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Jack from WV

    What a tragic story to be telling out in the public, and not to ensure she had the facts correct is only one persons fault, Hillary’s. Once again Hillary has been caught embellishing the truth. Remember what happened to the last public figure that embellished his resume, think FIMA and what happened to him after Katrina yet it’s ok for Hillary I think not. We all know politicians lie it’s to what extent they will go and how long before they get caught. Hillary has been caught twice in less than a month way to go Hillary. Maybe now people see Hillary for the person she is, a lier! This is not one of the q

    April 6, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Debby S.

    What in the world is wrong with you people? Do you hate Hillary Clinton so much that you can't see that we have a health care crisis that must be addressed? Who cares if this one particular story is not confirmed as fact? The important "fact" is that many, many people all over our country DO INDEED die because they are uninsured or underinsured.

    Check out any health care provider or hospital who attempts to serve the underserved to learn the TRUTH about the impact not having insurance has on health. The worth of this "charity care" is clear to anyone whose goal is a healthier community.

    And, see FamiliesUSA.org for some statistical data:
    "For the more than 47 million Americans who are uninsured, lack of health insurance can have dire consequences—medical debt, missed care, and even premature death. [They are creating] the first-ever state reports on the number of deaths due to lack of health insurance."

    The TRUTH of the particular story repeated by Hillary Clinton has no real connection to the sad truth that many of us cannot afford the medical treatment we need!

    Please use your brains and then support the candidate you feel can best address this issue, be it Clinton, Obama, or McCain. Just do not hide your heads in the sand, and say the important issue is whether or not the example used was fact. Ever heard of a PARABLE? Look at this "story" as one, if it makes you feel better...

    April 6, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. ryan indiana

    i can't wait for her to joke about this on yet another late night performance...maybe she will act like a pregnant lady who dies because she can't get treated and then she'll laugh hysterically about it.

    as a future resident, i get to see the true side of medicine...everyone gets treated equally...heck, we don't even care if you smoke crack just so you tell us so we don't go searching for some other cause...we don't care if you have insurance or not, people who don't have insurance probably are more self conscience because they know they'll be getting a bill in the mail for self-pay...the truth is, they probably won't pay anything and the hospital will eat the costs...this is the reality of the american health care system.

    Again, everyone in the event of an emergency (especially pregnant ladies) gets at the very least screened (because not all are TRUE emergencies) - its called EMTALA (google it/wikipedia it)...Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

    Thus, if she wants to "change" healthcare she should at least know something about it right?


    April 6, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Kame

    Even if Clinton has a point about the broken healthcare system, you can't simply give false examples, there's no excuses when you're in politics giving speeches. to be able to say that you misspoke, or were misinformed just makes you look either incompetent or a liar. Always get your facts straight.

    April 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Amy Kathleen

    I don't know which is more amusing- the amount of times Hillary has been forced to admit that she "misspoke" or how her supporters crucify the media for reporting it. It isn't bias- it's just that Obama doesn't do this, so they can't report it. The flip side of that is, naturally, that if Hillary just spoke the truth, she wouldn't have to see these kind of stories either.

    April 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Shirley

    This was just another 'mis-speak' on Hillary's part, it was not her fault.

    April 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Netty

    Clinton has tons of experience as first lady – she learned how to be a great liar – and she learned from the best !

    April 6, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Mino AZ

    Sen. Clinton, Lied, Lied ? . . . . . I don't think so. She was just reiterating what she heard from the Deputy as it was shown on TV. Lying is when Sen. Obama claims he sat in church with his wife and children, and listened to all the vile sermons of Rev. Wright, and the audacity to claim he didn't hear any of them, YEAH, RIGHT !!!! . NOBODY BELIEVES THAT !!!!. Sen. Obama criticizes Sen. Clinton about her tax returns ??? Sen. Obama did not submit all of his tax returns. None of them did. Sen. McCain did not submit his at all.
    I can hardly wait for Sen. Obama's tax returns so they can be scrutinized, just like Sen. Clinton, and McCain and WIFE. What's good for the goose, it's good for the gander.

    Why it's the reason Sen. Obama did not attend MLK's ceremonial
    death anniversary in Memphis TN ?????? Please, no lame excuses.

    April 6, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Fred

    Lets see if Pennsylvania state has there head in the sand. Are they behind this lier. How can they support disception and deciet. I want Honesty and intergerty. These people will lie cheat and steal to take this country. OBAMA "08"

    April 6, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. linda hemmingsen

    you are all ready to condem hillary when she was told this by a trusted person, well what about you obama fans you are such hipocrits why you won't even look into obamas ties to all the donors with criminals pasts and he is up to his neck in dirty politics from chicagao. he has lied repeatedly. he said he never knew rezko was under idictment when he got a loan from him for his house, yet the news has said it was in every newspaer, radio and tv for weeks and it would of been impossiable to not know. especially with all the donaors he got money from who are also in the trial and .now their is more about a lot of people been looked at friends of obamas in the senate in chicago who have used their influence to blackmail and influence peddling. why are you not mentioning any of this. these people are very corrupt people and friends of obama .are you waiting till he becomes president for the shoe to drop ?

    April 6, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Fazio

    While it is admirable for Senator Clinton to agree to refrain from referencing this story, I am curious... Are people actually aware how frequently Senator Clinton has "mispoke" to gain political milage? This woman will stop at nothing in her scorched Earth policy to get the nomination!

    April 6, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. judyb

    The hospital said her campaign never called to verify the story...just more nonsense from the Queen of Fabrication!

    April 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Ru B., NH

    It's against the law to deny care as well as HUGE liability for a lawsuit. The hospital would have treated her and sent the bill to her home address, if she were truly uninsured. Yet one more way the media and Clinton are trying to lie to the American people. If she were truly worth her law degree, she would have known that.

    April 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Karl

    I wonder when O'Bleness will start the new Clinton Wing of the hospital? If her trusted staff cannot research something as easy as this, how will they research matters of national interest? Oh, I forgot she is only interested in getting elected.

    April 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. Rob

    Yet another exaggerated story. She always blames someone else for the lies she is caught dishing out. If she can't fact check herself then no way I want her as president making decisions about whether or not to go to war over some questionable intelligence reports. She makes Bush's fact checking look flawless. She'll probably have us bombing Mexico over a claim of some WMDs in some pinatas.

    April 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Angela

    What about the story Obama tells about the young lady that goes to college and works and can't pay her sisters medical bills? Since when is it your sister or brothers responsibility to to pay for your medical bills? How old is her sister? Why can't they get her on medicaid or disablity. He keeps telling that story and nobody questions it. GIVE ME A BREAK CNN!!!

    April 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Hillary all the way

    It's not her vault the person lied to her. How is she suppose to check out a story when hospital records are confidental. She only tied to help this person get their story out. the real truth in this story is their are people out there that can't get medical help because they have no insurance and that's pretty sad. Don't ever give up Hillary your the right person for the job!!!!!

    April 6, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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