Doctor forgives $650K in medical debt for his cancer patients

A compassionate cancer doctor gives his patients a welcome gift before retiring

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In a sign of immeasurable grace, an Arkansas doctor has chosen to wipe away $650K in medical debt for almost 200 patients with cancer.

According to NBC affiliate, KARK-TV Monday, Dr. Omar Atiq – who established the Arkansas Cancer Institute in Pine Bluff in 1991 wrote his patients at the end of last year to tell them he was immediately forgiving their outstanding debts.

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“I hope this note finds you well,” the correspondence began, “The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for the majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works. Arkansas Cancer Clinic is closing its practice after over 29 years of dedicated service to the community. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”

cancer doctor Arkansas
Dr. Omar Atiq (Jefferson Medical file photo)

While speaking to the news station, the oncologist acknowledged that 2020 has been such a tough year he was actually happy to be able to lift some of the financial burdens that his patients were experiencing.

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“I love them, I care for them, and I am glad I was able to do a little bit at this point for them,” he concluded, noting that his clinic is working with a billing company to forego the debt. The Pakistan native closed his clinic last spring but was left with outstanding balances that he is now forgiving.

“Being sick is hard, having cancer is harder, and having cancer in this pandemic is devastating,” he explained.

Dr. Atiq has treated thousands of patients and admits he’s never forgiven debt before. But in this one act of kindness, he estimates that he’s wiped approximately $650K worth of payments from his books.

“I am just a regular physician—a regular person that they have in the neighborhood—just so happens to be me standing here,” he continued. “The ones struggling couldn’t pay, so we thought we could just write off the debt.”

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