A doctor in Arkansas erased $650,000 worth of debt for his former cancer patients after realizing they could not pay.
Dr. Omar Atiq was forced to shut down The Arkansas Cancer Clinic in Pine Bluff due to staff shortages.
But when the father-of-four closed his clinic, which he founded in 1991, he decided to send a heartwarming gift to his former patients informing them that their outstanding balances had already been erased.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Dr. Atiq said: “My wife and I, as a family, we thought about it and looked at forgiving all the debt.
“We saw that we could do it and then just went ahead and did it.”
Only days before Christmas, around 200 former patients received a card informing them of the incredible news.
Hunter Hoagland of KARK4 News posted a photo of the card on social media, which reads: “I hope this note finds you well. The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient.
“Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for 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.”
It adds: “The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”
Dr. Atiq also said that since he started practicing medicine, he had felt uncomfortable that many patients were forced to worry about their finances.
Bea Cheesman, the president of RMC of America, said: “Dr. Atiq is a very caring individual and he’s always been extremely easy to work with as a client.
“I think personally that it’s just a wonderful thing that he and his family did in forgiving this debt because the people with oncology bills do have more challenges than the bulk of the population.”
The doctor said he hopes the gesture will somehow make the lives of his former patients ‘a little bit easier.’
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