Dr. Neil Blatt, D.P.M, a beloved healthcare provider in Queens whose life’s work was characterized by a love and respect for humanity, died of the coronavirus in April, despite a valiant effort fighting stage 4 colon cancer.
Whether in his private podiatry practices in Bayside and Woodside for nearly five decades, or during his 25 years as a podiatrist with Adults and Children with Learning Disabilities (ACLD) and most recently with Charles Evans Center (CEC), Blatt had touched the lives of many people during his career.
“The outpouring of love in patient letters to our family has been overwhelming,” said Stefani Cohen, Blatts daughter. “While we are saddened to have lost our beloved father, it is such an incredible feeling to know how much he meant to people and the impact he made on their lives.”
Blatt’s work included a lifetime of dedication to people of special needs, for whom he often went to great lengths as part of their treatment.
This included routinely making house calls for people with developmental disabilities in order to check up on them to ensure that they were in good health and in good care. His visits brought obvious joy to his patients, due in no small part to Blatt’s well known and often expressed sense of humor, a major part of his persona and outlook.
It was a gift he successfully deployed to communicate with his patients as well as for making them feel relaxed and comfortable, whether the jokes were funny or just plain silly, according to Cohen.
“He was the ultimate caregiver,” Cohen said. “Dad was always looking to help others. It could have been a stranger on the street who needed someone to hold their groceries, or a person needing directions. You name it, he wanted to help, and he did.”
A resident of North Hills, NY, Blatt had an innate concern for his fellow men and women, which was not limited to his professional practice alone. He was just as likely to help out family members and neighbors.
“He helped numerous people with simple acts of kindness whether he knew them or not, like assisting someone stuck on the side of the road or digging cars out of snow drifts,” said Jessica Smith, Blatt’s daughter. “At home growing up, our kitchen table was Dad’s makeshift doctor’s chair for when any kid in the neighborhood got hurt.”
Blatt’s dedication to his family was paramount and always evident. He never missed events involving his two daughters or his grandchildren, Alexandra and Ryan, of whom he said, “were his best medicine.”
While quarantined with COVID-19, Blatt quipped that he was okay with being home because “he got to look at his wife Maxine every day,” whom he met as a teenager, fell in love with, and was married to for 52 years.
Blatt graduated from Brooklyn College in 1966 and New York College of Podiatric Medicine in 1970. He established his private practice in 1971 and in 1993 he became the Podiatrist at ACLD. Blatt was a Diplomate with The American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics & Primary Podiatric Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, as well as a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association, New York Podiatric Medical Society, and the Queen’s County Podiatric Medical Association.