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. BatCat05

    What's Up Hillary! You’ve been telling this whopper of a tale since February and didn't check it for accuracy. That's a bad judgment call lady! Check the story out next time, its hurting you in the believability department. Healthcare is important so, stay on the issue.

    April 6, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. California Voter

    Obama should probably drop the story about being a "professor" of constitutional law as he was a lecturer, and some of the other information he has embellished for political purposes. Listen politicians, and Obama is one, will often misspeak, expand on the truth or just plain lie. I have no problem with the press talking about these kinds of things. However, fair is fair and they have in no way been fair with Hillary Clinton. I'm beginning to think it is because she is a woman?????


    April 6, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. aughhhh

    Once again, bad judgement on Hillary's part. Not someone I would want representing my country.

    April 6, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. M. Mitch

    Another case of mis-speaking? Doesn't she have enough money to hire a fact checker?

    April 6, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Powers

    Senetor Clinton – – so smart, yet so stupid. She probabily got many supporting votes for telling this story. Talking with out checking the facts or shading the facts re-enforce the commnets that she will do and say anything to be elected. This election was hers to lose and she has lost it on her own.

    April 6, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. OR Voter

    The threads of her campaign appear to be unraveling...


    April 6, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. s.b.

    Do people think that no one has died in the US after being refused treatment?

    Of course the hospital is going to say this. It's not Clinton s job to pursue this story as told to her, nor is it the right time for her to defend herself in a liable case, eventhough she never mentioned the hospital.

    This however, does not negate or make false the fact that this story was told to Clinton and that people do die in the US after being turned away from hospitals.

    April 6, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Kevin in Madison, WI

    Another 'mistatement' by Sen. Clinton. What a lie! Sen. Clinton, we all respect the great work you have done for this country, but please, please, please step aside – the country has clearly called for a new direction, and that is Barack Obama. Hillary, you're done.

    April 6, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Cary, San Jose, California

    Can we believe anything that Hillary says? I always feel that I need to read the fine print every time she speaks.

    April 6, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Tim

    She just makes things up as she goes along. To me the point that she illustrates is a very serious health problem. She is either a Pathological liar or she is shellshocked.

    April 6, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Sunny

    Goes to show you can't just run with someone's story without checking the facts. Hillary's vast "experience" should have informed her of this.

    April 6, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Karen Johnson

    "She tells this story because it illustrates the point that we have a very serious health care problem in America."

    But, if the story is not true then it does NOT illustrate the point.

    April 6, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Sam

    Good grief! Will she ever stop?!

    Really, is being lied to by a Clinton a surprise anymore?

    April 6, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Former Hillary Clinton Supporter

    There she goes again....When will she stop lying and start being honest for once...She is only hurting her chances of a nomination and losing credibility. Can't she see this?

    April 6, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. NC our Turn to vote

    Why does Ms. Clinton have to try so hard? She has lost a lot of credibility with me.

    April 6, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. K

    surprise, surprise.

    April 6, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Lee From Treasure Island Florida

    When did the hospital inform her that the STORY WAS FALSE?
    Thats the story...how long did she continue to lie...that the story.
    Like she repeated the Bosnia Sniper fire 4 times
    Like she didn't know about Mark Penn being a lobbyist for Pres. Uribe, meeting with Colombian Officials on Trade Deal...Hubby Bill is in the pack...been going on since his White house days.

    April 6, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. OR Voter

    On this bright Sunday morning I'll refer to the bible on this one.

    The bible says, what's done in darkness shall come out to light.

    I'm glad we're finding all of this out sooner rather than later, so that there can be no excuses made by the American people should she gain the Democratic nomination and the Presidency.

    There can be no excuses made by the American people about re-electing GW Bush to a 2nd term in office.

    April 6, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Reality Check

    So what!
    Stop searching for negative junk on Sen Clinton and focus on actual news. Give it a rest already. Perhaps if you examined Obama with the same high intensity that you looked at Sen. Clinton – we'd actually learn about him and his troubles. It is not Sen. Clinton's fault if she believed the moving words of a member of the public. Get real CNN. Enough of your efforts to try to bring down Sen. Clinton. Try being fair and impartial and report actual news instead of over-hyped junk.

    April 6, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Daniel in Michigan

    Out of sight – out of mind. In the end, it's as simple as that.

    April 6, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Seth

    There have been more than several times that, inaccuracy has been found in her speech. How do we know how much of what she said is actually accurate? It is very obvious that she would choose to say anything about anything to get her point acrossed. In case we forgot, this area is also where Bush is good at! We donot need an other Bush! I has been an undecided voter. Now my choice is clear, "Clinton is out"

    April 6, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. kennedy

    it might be true that the woman who died never got turned away but the notion that the hspital has to go after hillary is wrong because she was saying what she was told i sometimes tell a story of what i see on tv later they become untrue you cant call me a lier,another example is when the weather team says it is going to rain then you tell your work mate that it is going to rain then it turnes out that it dsid not rain who is the person on the wrong me or the person who told me ,be realistic and grow up am adding please grow up

    April 6, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Cial (Clinton is a Liar)

    When will the lying stop? I'm getting tired of all these Clinton stories. I bet 90% of them are just made up. This woman can not be president. Obama 08,12.

    April 6, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Carolyn

    Hillary is responsible for her own shallow, superficial words, and should have NEVER used such a story without thoroughly checking it out first. Maybe she doesn't like to do the hard work of verifying information, such as when she didn't read the intelligence report on Iraq before voting FOR Bush's war. But she has a staff who should be able to verify information and keep her advised of where the truth of these matters are. The problem is that Hillary doesn't care if it is true or not, as long as it fits her meta-desire to impress people. She is not a fit representative for her state, let alone the entire United States. She should not hold any elective office, with such quantitative and qualitative carelessness as to the matter of truth.

    April 6, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Barackcan

    Hillary didn't doubt George Bush when he wanted to go to war with Iraq. Do we really need a president who believes everything she is told. Sounds very dangerous if you ask me.

    April 6, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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