Dr. Virginia Apgar, pioneer behind Apgar score, being celebrated with Google doodle

Google Doodle

She may not be well-known in the United Kingdom but she worked in obstetrics and created the "Apgar score" which is given to newborns to quickly assess their health.

The Apgar score is as follows: "Each newborn is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 (a score of 2 meaning the newborn is in optimal condition, 0 being in distress) in each of the following categories: heart rate, respiration, colour, muscle tone, and reflex irritability".

Dr Virginia Apgar developed the score in 1952 to quantify the effect of obstetric anaesthesia on babies.

Dr Virginia Apgar was born in New Jersey in 1909, and always had a keen interest in Science.

This was achieved by trying to investigate the first 24 hours of an infant's life and document trends to distinguish healthy babies from unhealthy ones. She attended Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, and in 1933, she graduated fourth in her class before completing a residency in surgery at P&S in 1937.

Google's Doodle today honors a Mount Holyoke College graduate - Dr. Virginia Apgar. She was discouraged from practising surgery as a career, her University chose her male colleague to head the department even though she was seniormost, and she had to fight for equal pay.

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She never married and died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 7, 1974. The hospital opened a new division of anaesthesia at that time and Apgar became its first Director.

Apgar's work on prevention of infant mortality was eventually recognised as she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in the US.

She was appointed the first woman Professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1949, according to a biography of the clinician at the Columbia University website.

A U.S. postage stamp carrying her portrait was also released after her death. Her method of rating babies helped lower infant mortalityrates and still saves lives today.

She worked nearly up until her death at the age of 64. When she was introduced to instrument-making, she made two violins along with her friend and later, even made a cello.

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