Memorial doctor being hailed as 'hero'

John Blundell 

A Memorial Medical Center physician is being hailed by New York City media as a "hero" after he revived a 3-year-old boy who had been drowning in a hotel pool in New Jersey on Saturday.

The headline in the New York Post on Monday read: "Hero doctor rescues drowning 3-year-old boy at NJ hotel pool."

Police in Montvale, N.J. said Dr. John Blundell was in the “right place at the right time” after the child was found by a relative, floating in the shallow end of a pool at a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Blundell, who was visiting from New York City with his family, performed CPR on the little boy after the relative had pulled him from the water.

He was able to revive the unidentified child just before paramedics and other officers got to the scene.

“[It is] incredibly fortunate that the doctor … was in the right place at the right time,” Montvale Police Chief Joseph Sanfilippo told

A Montvale officer, who was less than a minute away when he was dispatched to the hotel, was able to give the boy oxygen after he was revived. He was then rushed to a nearby  Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., where he was treated and released.

Joseph Ruffolo, the president & CEO of Memorial Medical Center called Blundell "very dedicated and compassionate."

"He's a guy who represents Memorial," Ruffolo said. "That child couldn't have had a better person around for that."

A medical center spokesman said Blundell was not available for an interview on Monday. He had been vacationing in New Jersey on the day of the incident.

"He's a very modest guy," Ruffolo said. "Very humble. Saving lives, it's what he does."

Blundell is a staff physician at the medical center. A specialist in internal medicine, the medical center spokesman said Blundell is "one of our hospitalists —physicians whose specialty is caring for hospital inpatients."

In that role, Ruffolo said, Blundell would have also been involved in treating the medical center's COVID patients. 

"He would have taken care of (COVID patients). He's probably saved the lives of COVID patients," Ruffolo said. "We're fortunate to have him."

A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, Dr. Blundell completed his post-graduate residency at SUNY Buffalo. He has been a member of the Memorial staff since September 2014.

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