Doctor forgives medical debt of nearly 200 cancer patients

By: Inquirer staff - Inquirer.net | January 02,2021 - 12:27 PM

An oncologist wiped away the debt of nearly 200 of his patients who are battling cancer as he permanently closed his clinic in Arkansas, USA.

Dr. Omar Atiq informed his patients through holiday cards he sent on Dec. 28, as per NBC-affiliate KARK on Dec. 30.

“Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome,” he said in the note. “Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works.”

Atiq then explained that his clinic, the Arkansas Cancer Institute, is shutting down after 29 years of service. According to the report, Atiq had to close its doors due to staffing shortages amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the loss, Atiq told his patients, “The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”

The remaining bills amounted to around $650,000. Atiq worked with a billing company to forego the debt and ensure that none of his patients would have to face any consequences in the future.

When speaking about his decision, Atiq stressed that “being sick is hard, having cancer is harder, and having cancer in this pandemic is devastating.”

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

“I love them, I care for them,” he added, “and I am glad I was able to do a little bit at this point for them.” Ryan Arcadio /ra

 

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TAGS: Arkansas, Dr. Omar Atiq, NBC-affiliate Kark, oncologist, USA

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