Dr. Omar Atiq has helped make the new year easier for hundreds of cancer patients.
After operating for nearly 3 decades, The Arkansas Cancer Clinic in Pine Bluff was forced to close.
Dr. Omar Atiq has been a medical oncologist for forty years. As the founder of The Arkansas Cancer Clinic in Pine Bluff, he had to make the difficult decision to shut down his clinic in March. Since then, he had worked with RMC of America, a billing company, to collect payments from his former patients. Last month, Dr. Atiq showed incredible kindness and generosity when he decided to erase the medical debt of 200 patients. This debt, according to ABC News, totaled $650,000. Speaking to Good Morning America, Dr. Atiq explained: “Over time I realized that there are people who just are unable to pay. So 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.”
The doctor sent out Christmas cards to inform 200 of his former patients that they were no longer in debt.
Commenting on his decision, Dr. Atiq shared:
Since I started practicing, I’ve always been rather uncomfortable with sick patients not only having to worry about their own health and quality of life and their longevity and their families and their jobs but also money. That’s always tugged at me. […] You add to it the absolute devastation that the pandemic has wrought, and you think thank God that we’re fairly comfortable and this was something we could at least do to help the community. […] I saw patients over the years who just didn’t have anything or who went bankrupt trying to pay for their treatment. In many ways it seems like a totally unfair situation.
Bea Cheesman, the president of RMC of America, also commented on Dr. Atiq’s gesture:
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.
Dr. Atiq’s kindness has allowed hundreds of patients to welcome the new year by starting a new chapter. “I just hope that it made it a little bit easier for them. That’s it,” Dr. Atiq shared. “I just hope that it gave them a little sigh of relief and made it easier for them so they could face other challenges they may be facing in their lives.”