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Clinton drops hospital story from stump speech

  • Story Highlights
  • Clinton had been repeating a story she heard about an uninsured pregnant woman
  • In the story, the woman was denied treatment, later died from complications
  • Hospital says woman had insurance, was never denied care
  • Clinton campaign says they had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the story
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From Steve Brusk
CNN
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(CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton will stop telling an emotional story about a uninsured pregnant woman who died after being denied medical care, Clinton's campaign said.

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Sen. Hillary Clinton was repeating a story she heard from someone on the campaign trail.

A hospital has raised questions over the accuracy of the story, and Clinton's campaign has said although they had no reason to doubt the story, they were unable to confirm the details.

In the story, Clinton describes a woman from rural Ohio who was making minimum wage at a local pizza shop. The woman, who was uninsured, 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 her speeches, 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. Video Watch why the story is raising questions »

The New York senator heard the story during a campaign visit to a family's living room in Pomeroy, Ohio, in late February. Bryan Holman was hosting the candidate and told Clinton the story. She has repeated it frequently since then.

As recently as Friday night in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Clinton said she was "just aching inside" as she was listening to the story.

"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," she said.

While Clinton never named the hospital in her speech, the woman she was referring to was treated at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. The hospital said the woman did indeed have insurance, and, at least at their hospital, she 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'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."

"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," he said.

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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." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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