This cancer doctor wiped out more than $600,000 in medical debt for his former patients
January 9, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 45.1%. 2 min read.
An act of kindness by an Arkansas doctor is helping his former patients face the new year with less debt. Dr. Omar T. Atiq voided more than $650,000 in unpaid medical bills for those once under his care.
(CNN)An act of kindness by an Arkansas doctor is helping his former patients face the new year with less debt.
Atiq voided more than $650,000 of unpaid medical bills for those once under his care.
Dr. Atiq decided to forgive his patients' debts in time for the Christmas Holiday.
The note thanked each patient for trusting Dr. Atiq with their care and followed with the generous surprise.
According to Dr. Atiq, the debts carried by his patients ranged from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands.
As the ripple effects from the coronavirus pandemic raised financial pressures for so many households, Dr. Atiq and his family considered ways they could help.
Nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Atiq founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in the community of Pine Bluff to make comprehensive cancer care available for the economically disadvantaged.
Prior to its opening, Pine Bluff cancer patients traveled at least 50 miles for treatment.
Dr. Atiq is clear that his patients' needs were always his top concern—not their ability to pay.
For somebody to trust their lives in my hands is the highest privilege and honor I can get," Dr. Atiq explains.
For years, Dr. Atiq focused solely on his patients' medical situations.
But, earlier this year as Dr. Atiq and his wife began to close the clinic, their closer review of financial statements revealed something disturbing.
As a physician, Dr. Atiq knows all too well the huge financial strain often faced by patients.
And, most of his patients had to work while receiving treatment.
"Some (patients) would work the day they received their chemo," Dr. Atiq recalls.
An immigrant from Pakistan, Dr. Atiq's decided to become an oncologist when he realized his community lacked comprehensive cancer care.
In the same spirit of generosity that Dr. Atiq opened his clinic, he is now closing its doors to begin a new chapter.
His patients safely transitioned to a hospital to continue their cancer care.
An observant Muslim, Dr. Atiq feels his act of kindness was a small gesture in comparison to what his patients have given to him over the years.