April 6th, 2008
02:11 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/06/art.clintonstory.ap.jpg caption="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. Toni

    The media, Obama and McCain endorsers are blaming Hillary for the story. There were reporters and cameramen when the sheriff was relating the story to Hillary. She did not make it up. Hillary trusted this individual, I suppose the fault lies with whomever's job is to check these facts,we cannot possibly think that this should be Hillary's task.Although,let's not forget we still do not know for sure if the hospital is being truthful.

    April 6, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. optimistic

    i support obama, but give the lady a break! this time she was not in the wrong for relaying a story she believed to be true. let's focus on the issues. obama for prez!

    April 6, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Amanda

    Hillary Clinton is a very intelligent woman – too intelligent to repeat stories without validating their accuracy. Therefore, I must conclude that she is as dishonest and deceitful as she's reputed to be. One incident is okay but this happens to her repeatedly. She will stoop to any tactic to get her way. That's scary.

    April 6, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Jack - Miami

    Makes you wonder what she will say if she does make it to the WH and things aren't going so well. A new scandal, bad decisions, tough economy.......will she just make something up? She truly believes the public is stupid.

    We aren't. HRC is a habitual liar. If you want that as your leader and in the WH – vote for her and be prepared for being ashamed.

    April 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. NC

    LOL, hillary is lying AGAIN.....what a suprise.

    April 6, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. sjp

    what will it take clinton sheep, it is just blatantly obvious that no matter what she does you will somehow try to spin it into her being believable. there are numerous posts on here by clinton backers saying well it doesn't matter it happened somewhere or the hospital is just protecting themselves, this is not the point. the point is she has been caught embellishing stories to make herself look good or right on issues ( isn't that why we dems hate bush on iraq?) . secondly as democrats we have beaten on many of bush's cabinet ( rove, cheney, rummy) for their sad comments and beliefs, take a close look at clintons campaign cabinet, how many of them need to get caught before it becomes obvious that she and her campaign is of the same cloth as bush. its time to move on from hillary and her mess, the party needs a strong, intellectual leader who can seperate from mccain, not one who has this baggage that will haunt us the entire election.

    April 6, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. State of Pennsylvania

    Voters of the State of Pennslyvania BEWARE!. Hilliary Clinton is a liar, and so is her husband, Bill. These people make a living on lying to the American public, and they think you are dumb enough to believe them. Like Senator Obama says, it's time to put away the old politics of yesterday. Show these lying bastards who you are in 3 weeks and cast your vote for Senator Obama.

    April 6, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Robert

    Totally not surprised! I said from Day One something about her is untrustworthy. I could never explain this intuition to my friends; now I can just reference to hear Bosnia story and this hospital story. Wow...has she no shame. I feel bad for the people who voted for this HRC in Ohio and believed her garbage. Watch UP America...I definitely do not want her answering the phone at 3AM in the White House.

    April 6, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Tn

    Anybody vote her mean LYING IS OK


    April 6, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
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