For today’s Google Doodle, we are honoring one of the most important American doctors who saved the lives of millions of babies. Virginia Apgar is the creator of the Apgar scale, a score that is essential for all newborns. Google celebrates her 109th birthday and wants to make her story known everywhere on the internet.
Who was Virginia Apgar?
Virginia Apgar was born in 1909 in New Jersey. In 1949, she became the first woman to teach at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Before attending this university herself, she also studied physiology, chemistry, and zoology. However, she became well-known for the contribution she brought to infant medicine.
Apgar noticed America had an incredibly high mortality rate among infants, and decided she needed to find a solution to lower it. This way, she got the idea for the Apgar scale. By monitoring infants during the first 24 hours of their life, she could make observations on their condition. This way, she could see what was different between healthy and sick babies.
What is the Apgar scale?
Here is what the Apgar scale means. Apart from the doctor’s name, it is also an acronym of the five criteria involved. These are appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. For each of the criteria, babies receive a score between 0 and 2, and they need to sum up as much as possible.
Dr. Apgar became interested in the field of medicine after several of her family members developed serious health problem. In 1937, she became a surgeon, but she was best known as an anesthesiologist. This was her gateway to treating infants and coming up with the innovative Apgar scale.
Apart from this discovery, Apgar had many other contributions to infant health. She held many lectures on this subject and published over 60 scientific articles. In 1972, she contributed to the writing of a book on birth defects called “Is My Baby All Right?”.
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