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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 27, 2022

This story about National Guard doctors finding hospitals with no COVID patients is fake

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  • The sources in this story are fabricated and the claims are false. 

Some Facebook users are sharing a headline of what looks like a news article, but it comes from a self-described satire site with a history of publishing fabricated stories.

"National guard doctors find hospitals empty of COVID patients," the Jan. 18, 2022, headline says.  

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The headline appeared with a story written by "Mike Baxter" on the website Real Raw News. We’ve previously investigated and written about both the site and Baxter, which is a pseudonym, and we’ve fact-checked and found false multiple claims from stories published on Real Raw News.  

This particular story has two supposed sources: Lt. Michael McKenzie, a physician assistant with the New Jersey Army National Guard and Beth Johnson, a member of the administrative staff at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey.

According to the story, McKenzie was among the military medical workers dispatched to hospitals grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases. He was attached to "Task Force Secaucus," which was assigned to Hudson Regional Hospital. It was there that he found not "a single COVID patient," the story says. 

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"Four of the hospital’s 14 ICU beds were occupied, but none with COVID patients," McKenzie allegedly told Real Raw News. 

But we reached out to the National Guard, and a spokesperson told us that there is no such task force, and no Lt. Michael McKenzie.

"Nor are there any New Jersey National Guard service members assigned to Hudson Regional Hospital," Capt. Amelia Thatcher said. "No one from the New Jersey National Guard has received any communication from Mike Baxter or ‘Real Raw News.’ From our review the referenced story contains no factual information."

The purported hospital administrative employee quoted in the story also is not a real person, the hospital told us. 


A "Beth Johnson" is quoted in the story as saying that "7 of 14 ICU beds are in use" but that policy prohibited her from saying who was hospitalized there or why. 

On Jan. 27, the hospital’s vice president and chief legal officer, Harry Kapralos, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Real Raw News, writing that claims including that the National Guard was assigned to the hospital were "false, defamatory, and misrepresentative of the truth." 

We rate this post Pants on Fire!


Our Sources

Facebook post, Jan. 19, 2022

PolitiFact, Hangings, guillotines and Gitmo: Going behind Real Raw News’ sensational (and fabricated) headlines, Sept. 24, 2021

Real Raw News, National Guard Doctors Find Hospitals Empty of Covid Patients, Jan. 18, 2022

Cease and desist letter to Real Raw News from Hudson Regional Hospital, Jan. 27, 2022

Email interview with Cpt. Amelia Thatcher, New Jersey Army National Guard, Jan. 27, 2022

Email interview with Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, Hudson Regional Hospital president and CEO, Jan. 27, 2022


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This story about National Guard doctors finding hospitals with no COVID patients is fake

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