There is no worse fate than a cancer diagnosis, except for maybe not being able to afford the expensive medical required for the disease's treatment. One oncologist wanted to start his 2021 by giving back in a big way, and he didn’t have to look much farther than his own office. Dr. Omar Atiq managed to forgive all his patients’ outstanding debts with his act of unbelievable and overwhelming generosity.
The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was founded in 1991 by Dr. Omar Atiq. Whether it was medical advice, prescriptions, radiation, or chemotherapy, all the patients at the Pine Bluff facility were doing their best to make ends meet and stay alive. Come February of 2020 though, doctors and patients alike were lost as to how the coronavirus would affect treatments, staffing, and more. Patient debt racked up to $650,000 outstanding on the books.
Dr. Atik said that he never denied a patient treatment, even if their funds wouldn’t be able to cover it. “Not for lack of health insurance or funds nor for any other reason. I’ve always considered it a high honor and privilege to be someone’s physician—more important than anything else,” said the doctor. As such, he and his wife were more than happy to give back to the community that they’ve already given so much to.
“…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,” he said.
Dr. Atik closed the clinic in 2020, so this sounds like a great way to kick off 2021 and his new retirement!