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

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

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

Virginia Apgar would have been 109 today and is celebrated with a Google Doodle.

Her family was devoted to music, but she dedicated her life to lowering the USA's infant mortality rate. This five-step test has doctors examine the appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration of newborns. She left school knowing that she wanted to be a doctor, and initially studied zoology, chemistry and physiology.

Dr Virginia Apgar is famously known for the invention of Apgar score, which was a way to quickly assess the health of newborn children immediately after birth. Apgar had an illustrious career, one that she used to bring down death rate for newborns.

Dr Apgar graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933 and became the first women to head a speciality division at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Despite the USA infant mortality rate decreasing overall, a high number of infants were still dying within 24 hours of birth.

The Apgar Score is what's known as a "backronym" - the words were only chosen after the Dr. Apgar's test had gone into practice in 1952, in order to help people remember the elements of the test.

There, she was one of nine women in the entire program, and went on to become an anesthesiologist when it was a budding medical field. Dr Whipple felt advancements were needed in that area, and she seemed to have the "energy and ability".

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. She was also the first woman to head a division at the Presbyterian Hospital in NY.

Apgar, who was born in Westfield in 1909 and died in 1974, was an obstetrical anesthesiologist who developed the five-point assessment created to evaluate a baby's vital signs right after birth.

After she started her work in NY in 1933, Dr Apgar was concerned by the treatment of newborn babies.

She went on to work to conduct research on birth defects for the March of Dimes Foundation and linked gestational age to the problem of premature birth.

Apgar wrote over 60 medical articles, and co-wrote the bestseller "Is My Baby All Right?" with Joan Beck. She died of liver cirrhosis on August 7, 1974.

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