Google’s doodle remembers Apgar Score and its creator Virginia Apgar

Pearl Mccarthy
June 8, 2018

Dr Virginia Apgar is credited for the invention of a method called as Apgar score that helps in quickly summarising the health a newborn child.

Google on Thursday created a doodle to honour Dr Virginia Apgar.

Google doodle today remembers Dr Apgar on what would have been her 109th birthday.

Dr Apgar developed the now ubiquitous Apgar score in 1952.

Apgar was born on June 7, 1909 in Westfield, N.J., and died August 7, 1974. The Apgar test is conducted a minute after birth, and again four minutes later, in order to judge the effectiveness of intervention. The Apgar test, an acronym for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration, takes a minute to ascertain if a newborn needs immediate medical assistance. While those accomplishments are impressive, particularly for a woman at the time, her real contribution to the world is the so-called Apgar Score. A higher score in the test means less threat to the baby's survival.

The test is based on a total score of 1 to 10.

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The doctor was given three honorary doctorates during her career rom the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Mount Holyoke College and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. Score above 7 are normal and 4 to 6 are fairly low. She noticed that the number of infant deaths within the first 24 hours remained high, despite the fact that overall the US infant mortality rate was decreasing.

And she was a trailblazer in more ways than one: She was one of four women accepted into Columbia's medical school in 1929, and, while she was initially interested in pursuing a surgical residency, the chair of surgery at Columbia discouraged her from pursuing that field, and encouraged her to enter anesthesiology instead.

Virginia also published over 60 scientific articles and became well-known in the study of birth defects - teratology. Apgar was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She received a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University in 1959, and was a director at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which is know known as the March of Dimes.

Apart from developing her famous scoring exercise, Dr. Apgar was a notable advocate for universal vaccination in order to combat the rubella epidemic of the mid-Sixties.

She worked nearly up until her death at the age of 64.

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