In the months following the death of her father, podiatrist and North Hills resident Neil G. Blatt from the coronavirus, Stefani Cohen and her family received letters from his patients recalling his professional expertise, hope and good humor.
“The outpouring of love in patient letters to our family has been overwhelming,” Cohen said “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 had died of COVID-19 complications in April at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, while also fighting a two-year diagnosis of colon cancer.
A 1966 graduate of Brooklyn College and a 1970 graduate of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, Blatt established his private practice in 1971, eventually holding offices in Woodside and Bayside, Queens.
In 1993 he became the podiatrist on staff at the Bethpage-based Adults and Children with Learning Disabilities, a not-for-profit agency that supports the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
The doctor was also a diplomate with the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, and held memberships in professional organizations like the American Podiatric Medical Association, New York Podiatric Medical Society, and the Queens County Podiatric Medical Association.
Later in his career, Blatt would also work in the podiatry arm of the Charles Evans Center, a medical care chain with locations in Bethpage, Glen Cove and Hauppauge, and his daughters say he was anticipating a return to the center at the time of his death.
Following his death, letters the family received depicted Blatt as having 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,” Cohen said.
Her sister Jessica Smith added that their father had often performed “simple acts of kindness, whether he knew them or not.
“He would assist someone stuck on the side of the road or dig cars out of snowdrifts,” Smith said. “At home growing up, our kitchen table was Dad’s makeshift doctor’s chair for when any kid in the neighborhood got hurt.”
“He was the ultimate caregiver,” Cohen added. “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.”
According to his daughters, even when quarantined with the COVID-19 virus, Blatt quipped that he was okay with being home because “he got to look at his Maxine every day,” whom he met as a teenager and was married to for 52 years.
In addition to his wife Maxine and his two daughters, Blatt, who was buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, was survived by two grandchildren, Alexandra and Ryan, whom he often called his “best medicine.”