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The Up Beat: Forgive Us Our Debts

Image by Thomas Breher from Pixabay

A continuing series of good news/happy stories.

Per the English poet, Alexander Pope, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” However, today’s Up Beat installment brings us an uplifting story out of Arkansas of one doctor’s divine generosity.

As Fox16 reports:

Dr. Omar Atiq is an oncologist who founded the Arkansas Cancer Institute in Pine Bluff in 1991.

On Monday, his clinic sent out a holiday greeting to patients that read, “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. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”

As a former cancer patient myself — one who faced financial challenges, despite having fairly good health insurance — and having a mom who is currently being treated for Stage-IV lung cancer, I was particularly moved when I read this story. I know all too well the added stress that can come with mounting medical bills on top of a serious illness or injury.

Per Dr. Atiq, the debt forgiven totaled around $650,000.

What inspired this generous gift?

“I am just a regular physician– a regular person that they have in the neighborhood– just so happens to be me standing here,” Atiq said. “The ones struggling couldn’t pay, so we thought we could just write off the debt.”

The doctor says in a year where his patients have battled a lot, he hopes this will bring hope for a brighter 2021.

“I love them, I care for them, and I am glad I was able to do a little bit at this point for them,” said Atiq.

What a lovely — and loving — way to close out a year that has been trying for all and particularly challenging for those facing medical crises.

Another quasi-related bright spot to ponder: The advances that have come with the push to rapidly develop a COVID vaccine have opened new possibilities for advances on other medical fronts.

Per a recent Bloomberg article:

The shots from Moderna Inc. and a partnership of Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE use genetic material called messenger RNA to effectively transform the body’s own cells into vaccine factories. The approach had never been used outside of clinical experiments, and just how well it worked against the coronavirus stunned even some of its most enthusiastic backers.

Now, with one vaccine vaccine [sic] having gained U.S. clearance and the other close behind, the pandemic validation could wrench open a whole new field of medicine.

….

The cancer field might see its first messenger RNA drug approvals in two or three years, according to Sahin. Rossi meanwhile predicts that virtually all infectious-disease vaccines will use the technology in a decade or two, in part because it’s much faster and cheaper.

Here’s hoping 2021 brings continued medical advances (and cause for hope), along with abundant examples of the generous spirit exhibited by Dr. Atiq.

 

Let us know what you think in the comments section, below. And if you come across any good news stories you’d like us to share here, please send them to [email protected]