A doctor is being dubbed as a saviour after he voided over $650,000 in unpaid medical bills for his patients. Dr Omar T Atiq from Arkansas ran the Arkansas Cancer Clinic which served the Pine Bluff community up to 2020, after which he decided to shut it down.
To this end, he hired a company to take care of outstanding payments from patients. At this moment, he realised the true cost of healthcare in the US and how COVID-19 has rendered more people unable to pay for their treatment.
The doctor told CNN that he was ”grateful” for the opportunity to help others out. When he rummaged through the bills of his patients, he found that people were paying anything between $5-$50 for months, as he told CBS News. “Patients wanted to pay, but they didn’t have the ability to pay”, he said.
He referred to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and said many people have lost their means of livelihood owing to the pandemic, which still has the highest toll in the United States.
Dr Atiq surprised his patients with a Christmas card. Each patient received a personal greeting from their former doctor. In the note, the doctor thanked patients for trusting him and then announced that the clinic had decided to nullify all debts.
He told CNN that he “didn’t need the money”, and hence decided to forego the debt.
This marked the second such debt cancellation on the doctor’s part, who had earlier cancelled the debt of his patients in June 2020.
Speaking to CNN, the doctor added how this is not just a story of debt cancellation but is a reflection on medical debt, and how people seeking medical help are going ”bankrupt”.