The Washington Post, Associated Press and CBS Radio are among the national news outlets reporting a story about a Middleport woman who died last August after she was turned away from a local urgent care facility. Because in some areas of the country, it seems an unlikely scenario, reporters are now interested in the “back story.”
During her visit in February with Bryan Holman and Trent and Lori Nash, Clinton was touched by a story Holman recounted, about a friend who lost her baby and later died from complications of pregnancy, because she could not afford a doctor’s office visit.
The story was one of several the local families shared with the senator and presidential candidate during her visit here. Since then, Clinton has told the story to crowds across the country to emphasize the need for health care reforms.
“I remember listening to a story about a young woman in a small town along the Ohio River, in Meigs County, who worked in a pizza parlor,” the Washington Post reported Clinton saying. “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 one hundred dollars before we can see you.’ She didn't have a hundred dollars.”
“So the young woman went back home. The next time she went back, she was in an ambulance. It turned out she lost the baby. She was airlifted to Columbus. And after heroic efforts at the medical center, she died.”
The woman has been identified as Trina Bachtel of Middleport, who died in August at Ohio State University Medical Center. The Washington newspaper also reported that Bachtel was refused treatment due to unpaid medical bills, but did not identify the medical facility that refused her treatment.
Libbie Denkmann, a producer with KIRO Radio in Seattle, Wash., a producer for CBS Radio’s David Ross Show, said the national media are interested in the story because it is so surprising, and because Clinton has re-told the story repeatedly at rallies and campaign events across the United States.
Clinton’s use of the story at campaign events can only help the county’s efforts to expand health care for all residents, Meigs County Commissioner Mick Davenport said Thursday. He is leading efforts to expand a new Federally-Qualified Health Care family clinic, opened in December, to include a 24-hour emergency room and other critical access medical services. The FQHC Family Health Care facility provides primary care regardless of insurance coverage on a sliding fee scale.
Earlier this month, Davenport received word of approval of a $6,000 state grant to study models of similar facilities in other parts of the nation, so the county can determine if a FQHC family clinic and 24-hour urgent care and emergency room would effectively serve the local population.
“This is a sad story, but it’s just an example of what’s happening in health care in rural America,” Davenport said. “It shows the need for additional services, especially emergency room services and urgent care services that are available to everyone.”
“In a dire medical emergency, a nearby emergency room available to anyone who needs it can be a matter of life and death.”