Google Doodle celebrates Dr. Virginia Apgar’s 109th Birthday

Google Doodle celebrates Dr. Virginia Apgar’s 109th Birthday

Once she finished her undergraduate degree, she went on to Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Apgar score is the system that quickly summarizes health of very newborn babies against infant mortality.

The Apgar score is a method used to measure how healthy a baby is immediately after it is born.

"Apgar Score is a quick test performed on a baby at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The points are then totaled to arrive at the baby's score", is how she explained the Apgar score she created in her journal article "Evaluation of the Newborn Infant-Second Report". On her 109th birth anniversary, search giant Google has honoured her with a Doodle.

She was no exception and she was instead encouraged to practice anesthesiology.

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It wasn't until she invented the Apgar score that she began to earn the recognition that she deserved, but she didn't stop there.

Born on June 7, 1909, in Westfield, New Jersey to a father who was an insurance executive but had an interest in invention and astronomy, Virginia was also encouraged to take an interest in science. For each of the criteria, babies receive a score between 0 and 2, and they need to sum up as much as possible. Virginia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and from the Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. "The scores were to be given to a newborn one minute after birth, and additional scores could be given in five-minute increments to guide treatment if the newborn's condition did not sufficiently improve". She was also the first woman to head a division at the Presbyterian Hospital in NY.

As a young women pursuing a career in the medical field she overcame financial difficulties and discrimination to become a pioneering researcher and educator. Score above 7 are normal and 4 to 6 are fairly low. She devised a test for evaluating the health of newborns, focusing on five factors with the helpful mnemonic device of the first letters of each factor spelling her last name: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration.

Apgar was also an advocate for universal vaccination during the rubella pandemic of 1964-5 and travelled the United States, spreading the message of how important birth defect detection is.

Virginia never married, and died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 7, 1974.

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