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. rockybalboa

    And Hillary MOCKS her SUPPORTERS again in their faces. Too bad they can't accept the truth that she is a habitual liar. She needs to stop lying. The American public has had enough lies over the last 8 years.

    April 6, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Rob, Ottawa/Canada

    Just part of a pattern with the Clintons. I wonder how Clinton's camp will describe this, seeing as they've already used up the euphemism "misspeak".

    April 6, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. terri

    looks like once again Clinton needs to hire someone to check out the facts before she spews forth lies.

    April 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. The Taylors

    It wouldn't be the first time a famous person has made up a story to prove a point. Who dies of childbirth in this day and age?

    April 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Fran

    CNN you call this news? I guess all Senator Clinton has to do now is say "That is not what I meant...." and the press will move on from this subject. O that's right, that only works for Obama. Why don't you focus on the issues rather than on these silly details. I guess you couldn't focus on the issues, because then the press would actually have to admit that Senator Clinton's campaign has more substance.

    April 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    While I don't think it's smart to repeat an unconfirmed story, it's a sad day in America when people have to fabricate stories and then relay them to Presidential candidates. There are plenty of sob stories regarding the failures of the heath insurance industry – why waste people's time with falsehoods?

    I'm not a Hillary supporter, but I wouldn't blame Hillary if she was told a fabricated story – but question why she wouldn't repeat any number of stories that were confirmed and avoid this particular one.

    Unfortunately, Hillary can' t afford to staff change this late in the game because someone should be fired over this poor decision.

    April 6, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. boardrider

    And one more "misstatement" ...

    I'd kindly request one of her supporters to quote something she said ... really anything ... which is accurate.

    April 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Scott

    Are we done nitpicking on Hillary yet? If so, can we move on to nitpicking Bush or Obama for their stories and comments? Or do we simply call those stories and decisions reflecting poor judgment as "boneheaded", as Obama likes to say when having to speak for his inaccuracies or errors of judgment? It's a real shame that the media is hellbent on destroying the reputation and career of a great woman who has done more for this country than any typical journalist. Instead the media would prefer to support a candidate with an ineffective track record in the senate, one who has done nothing for this country – opnly for the black community in Chicago. What gives?

    April 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Lisa

    I knew the story was not true from the very beginning,,.. I am a faithful news watcher.. world wide... If his had happened why is this the first time we had heard of it.... HRC....gets more dillusional by the day...

    Girl you better start investigating things before you start saying stuff...your campaign is setting you up for the kill...

    and by the way.. this is another bad judgement call....

    Poor poor Hillary... somebody get her some help please....

    April 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Mike Tomlinson

    I used to work at O'Bleness last summer! Woot woot!
    Rick Castrop is a great man.. I'd trust what he says..

    April 6, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Linda

    Another story in which Senator Clinton misspoke. Was she tired then also??? This is becoming too common in her speeches. When are we really getting the truth?

    April 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Randy

    Seems like a trend with Hillary. Is this how it will be in the whitehouse?

    April 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Anonymous

    hey try to get in a hospital with no money or Insurance you will be Denied Treatment .white BOY ( Obama) 08

    April 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Canadian in PA

    Yet another example of how this candidate does not bother to check facts and embelishes (lies) to make her point. Same for Iraq, didn;t she not really read the documents prior to voting in favor of the war. 8 years of GW who would never read newspapers and counted on others to spin the facts for him is ENOUGH...

    April 6, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Susan MO

    Hillary, you do a good job. Keep going.

    CLINTON 08

    April 6, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. KCBob

    This is someone we want in the highest office in the land. Someone who opens their mouth without checking the fact...or totallt distorting them to mislead people.

    Either way, unacceptable.

    April 6, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Amber Schonauer

    I am a resident of Athens, OH and have on many occasions had the privilege of being treated at O'bleness Memorial Hospital. I was born there and I have given birth there 2 times. It is a wonderful hospital, full of great people. It makes me question my support for Hilary Clinton that she told a story that she didn't take the time to substantiate.

    April 6, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Dr. Gene W. Laramy, Prescott, Arizona

    How can you tell when Hillary Clinton is lying? When she opens her mouth. Another lie. How many does that make that have been proven to be false?

    April 6, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. truth be told

    This is becoming a pattern... Sen Clinton waits until she gets caught to then stop telling a story!!!

    Very disappointing!

    April 6, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. curtis in WI

    Geeze, does she have any stories that are true? Every week it seems like we are hearing about another of her stories that prove no to be true and they issue a luke-warm explanation and occasionally an insincere apology they have been pressured into.

    April 6, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Latina Here

    Go Hillary, The Media is trying to win this for Obama.....

    April 6, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Janine Witte

    HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! Who does the fact checking for Hillary's campaign? First Bosnia, now this........What are we supposed to believe???

    April 6, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. mary

    Obama doesn't seem to have a good sense of judgement either. Look at his church and how he allowed his girls to hear what Wright said. He takes things out of context too.
    If he was a senator at the time of the Iraq evasion I wonder how he would have voted with the information that was given to Congress. It is easy to give your opinion when you are sitting on the sidelines.

    April 6, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Chuck

    another clinton lie, I'm sooooooooo shocked!!!! hillary, do us all a favor and quit NOW.

    April 6, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Julie

    Is anyone surprised? The word "liar" is found within the name "Hillary".

    April 6, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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