Local Hospital Rejects Clinton's Story Of Denied Health Services

This story was written by Ryan Dunn, The Post
O'Bleness Memorial Hospital responded to Senator Hillary Clinton's implications that the hospital denied care to a now-deceased patient because the woman could not pay a $100 fee.

Clinton gave several speeches in which she told of a pregnant Meigs County woman who died last August after a neighboring county's hospital denied treatment to the women because she could not make a $100 payment, according to an April 5 New York Times article.

The Washington Post reported on April 3 that Clinton told the story as a "staple of her stump speech" about a stressed health care system in this country. The story also identified the Meigs County woman as Trina Bachtel.

O'Bleness clarified that they had not refused care to Bachtel for any reason, said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O'Bleness Health System, in an April 6 news release.

"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 young woman," Castrop said, according to the release.

O'Bleness will not turn away patients even if they cannot pay, Linda Weiss, hospital spokeswoman, said yesterday.

Meigs County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Holman, who first relayed the story to Clinton according to the Times report, could not be reached for comment.

Although O'Bleness officials have asked Clinton to stop telling the story, the hospital does not blame her for the incident, Weiss said. "She was relating a story that was told to her and nobody checked in to it to see if it was true."

A Clinton representative could not be reached, but Clinton spokesman Mo Eliethee told the Times that they were unsuccessful at verifying the accuracy of the story. "If the hospital claims it did not happen that way, we respect that," Eliethee told the Times.

O'Bleness Memorial Hospital was linked by national media outlets last week to the most recent speech controversy within Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

National media outlets have called the truthfulness of Hillary Clinton's words in to question again - this time including O'Bleness Memorial Hospital.

"She got pregnant, she started having problems. There's no hospital left in Meigs County, so she had to go to a neighboring county. She showed up, and the hospital said, 'You know, you've got to give us $100 before we can see you.' She didn't have $100," The Washington Post reported Clinton said at a speech in Cleveland.
© 2008 The Post via U-WIRE