Arkansas doctor forgives $650k in medical debt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A recently retired Arkansas oncologist's kind gesture is drawing national attention.

Doctor Omar Atiq was growing increasingly worried about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it would impact his former patients.

"For them to worry about anything else other than getting back to health," said Omar Atiq. "It's just not fair."

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Doctor Atiq decided to give them a helping hand.

For his 200 former patients, he wiped out their medical debt. A total of $650,000.

He sent them a holiday card letting them know, writing: "The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients."

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"They're like our extended family. There's no biggest honor, there's no higher honor than to serve as a physician," said Atiq. "And if I have been blessed to be able to help a little then I'm glad for it."

Doctor Atiq, a father of four, has been a physician for 30 years.

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