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. Doc

    "Shame on you Sen Obama!!!" Does that sound familiar? Moore embellishment. It seems that someones nose is growing.

    April 6, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Juluca_Jazz

    This is the second "falsehood" Mrs. Clinton has told in recent weeks. It appears that she longs to play on the sympathies of American voters, to sway their votes to her. Has Mrs. Clinton succumbed to petty lies to get votes? It definitely appears so.

    It is pathetic that Mrs. Clinton is so desperate to become the next President, that she would actually stoop to such behavior. As Mrs. Clinton once barked at Mr. Obama, "shame on you, MRS/. CLINTON; shame on you."

    April 6, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Lance

    well, I'm sure she "mis-heard" the story, which lead to "mis-spoke".
    When she press that button to activate a nuclear missile, her explain would be: I mis-pressed.

    She "MIS" so many things, yet want to be a president. So sad.

    April 6, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Voice of Reason

    Her capacity to use any story, regardless of its dubious verity, in order to gain some sort of advantage is undeniable evidence as to why she should never be allowed near the presidency, even as a vice president.

    Democrats, do we want ANOTHER president who has difficulty discerning truth from untruth? How many more Iraqs do we need due to faulty intelligence?

    She's either a lunatic, or a liar...

    April 6, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Lars

    Incredible. Why on earth would anyone be supporting her at this point. It is so blatantly "more of the same". The 'experience' benefit that Mrs. Clinton would have in so many voters' estimations is a negative if all she has learned is to play this tired game, and not play it well for that matter.

    April 6, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Brent

    This is low even for her. Now she will just say she misspoke and laugh it off. How disgusting and in no way Presidential. This is completely sickening.

    April 6, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Bob, Lyons Oregon,

    Again, repeating stories that are not true. I would think she should check the facts before repeating stories.

    Obama 08

    April 6, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Sandy from Lawrence, KS

    Every time she opens her mouth, out comes another lie.

    April 6, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Erick

    Do the words "say anything to get elected" mean anything anymore, or are we all just becoming numb to her politics as usual?

    April 6, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Ratgurl

    Um, I thought it was illegal for a hospital to deny service in a life-threatening situation anyway. Sounds like Clinton is slandering the hospital. That doesn't bode well for the hospital when they try to obtain public funding. Think they'd be penalized under Hill's Universal Healthcare proposal????

    These "misspeaks" are getting tiresome.

    April 6, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. N

    Compulsive liars the both of them.

    April 6, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Ohio

    How is She getting away with not telling the TRUTH. The main reason so many Americans are disgusted with this current administration is because they didn't tell the TRUTH. If Hillary is the democratic nominee this will be 1 of many the statements that they will use against her.
    Just Tell The Truth...that's what my parents always told me.

    April 6, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Wendy, Pittsburgh, PA

    So, Clinton should have every story she hears fact-checked to eliminate the possibility of urban legend. I wouldn't feel the need to verify such a report, since, sadly, such a story sounds completely plausible. I understand that public figures must be held to high standards, but until I see McCain's comments so carefully examined, I have to laugh at media's sudden zeal for the truth. And when I think about the whopping number of deliberate lies coming out of the current administration, unreported, much less unchallenged, I have to cry. Latest example? AG Mukasey stating that FISA rules prevented investigation of a pre 9/11 call from Al Qaeda to the US. FISA wouldn't restrict investigation of such calls, and the 9/11 commission has never heard of this mythical call. Now THAT is a whopping deliberate lie we should be reading about on CNN. Or, if it's true, that's a big admission of another failure of this administration. How to know? CNN doesn't think it's newsworthy (at least not as newsworthy as candidates' bowling abilities.)

    April 6, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. H




    April 6, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Kevin in DC

    I guess Hillary doesn't have time to do a little fact-checking. Kind of like how she didn't have time to do fact checking before authorizing the Iraq War.

    April 6, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. pg

    I was a Clinton supporter until Obama announced his candidacy. Now I wonder.....what's her deal?? There are lots of stories that are TRUE that she could tell...why tell a false one? I was just told of a story where a woman's 18 year old son committed suicide last year. She and her husband tried to get treatment for him. They had insurance, but it wouldn't cover his mental health or substance abuse treatment. Now he is dead! This is a true story and happens all the time! We have a few people who get UNEQUAL health care because they are not insured. I'm a nurse. I know that hospitals, public hospitals, will NOT turn patients away whose lives are in danger. But people whose lives are in danger because of mental or substance use illnesses are DENIED treatment when they ARE insured and DIE all the time! That's what these candidated should be talking about and it's what Americans should be FURIOUS about!
    Peggy from Ohio

    April 6, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. wanda

    This is the third time in recent weeks that she has "misspoke". Bush "misspoke" about WMD being in Iraq. Does anyone see a pattern here?

    April 6, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. FW

    Shame of Sen. Clinton for telling lies that now involve innocent people. What is wrong with her?I just don't get it? Aren't we lied to enough by the Bush administration already???

    She is fast becoming a disgrace to women in this country!

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. holsteintown

    99.9% pregnancy or delivery cases are the most well attended / cared for in hospitals in the US. There may be isolated case not because of no insurance. In the part of health care providers these medical cases are entertained if not soon, later. The biggest drawback in most regional hospitals or government hospitals in the country is the waiting time is quite long especially when the emergency room is flooded with non – emergency and emergency cases after office hours. Worst cases are screened which is the most critical and need the most attention.
    Few cases (human error), maybe left unattended especially in nights where there are more critical cases and the when/where the team focus there attention/care to the most needed or just plain neglegence in the part of a particular hospital worker.
    I notice that insurance health care providers, the wait is shorter.
    But still within 1 -2 hours or shorter if a person goes to ER in slow nights.
    I notice that non-residents/illegal citizens who are not part of medicare system even get treated and this depletes the hospital's financial resources.
    This may the answer to Clinton's {must have) insurance.
    And refusal to treat a patient because the hospital has started to tighten regulations that one has to start paying at least .-- of the cost
    and if the patient cant pay then the decisive burden is on the hospital or care provider.
    In my firstborn 23 yrs ago, (insurance covered) I did not have to pay a dime to deliver. and stayed 4 days for watch due to complications. 4 years later, I delivered my 2nd baby in the same hospital and the same insurance, I had to pay co-pay.Same in ER,
    Co-pay is getting bigger too

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Fallon

    This woman will never stop with her lies!!!! Weekly ,her lies are being exposed or should I say, she "misspoke".

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Sure

    I'm sure there are plenty of stories LIKE this one!

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Jane

    The fact is that such stories do happen, and someone should check the hospitals' accounts more thoroughly. But congratulations. The news media found one more way to malign Senator Clinton. Could it be that Senator Obama's slip in the national polls recently has you scrambling?

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Allen in NC

    Another nail in her political coffin... I've now officially made up my mind that this is the biggest lier I have ever seen, I don't believe not one word that she speaks any more. I can't believe her she's now resorted to playing with peoples emotions for a vote.... 90% of the people I know don't like to have thier emotions toyed with....... Are you watching PA, NC, IN?

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. DE from NJ

    One more lie for the Clinton column. Is she related to George Bush?

    April 6, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. paul

    This businesses of misspeaking and embelising stories is happening too often. its a shame, how does she recover from this

    April 6, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36