Medical

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

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

Though Apgar stayed away from women's movements, she would say "women were liberated the day they were born: they just had to be better at what they did to succeed in a man's world or profession".

Today's Google Doodle is paying tribute to Dr Virginia Apgar.

The Google Doodle marked Apgar's 109th birthday. Dr 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.

The test is conducted in the first five minutes after birth, allowing doctors to determine which babies need immediate care.

But Whipple also recognized that Apgar's skill could further the field of anesthesia, and she spent a year training in it after completing her surgical residency in 1937. A higher score in the test means less threat to the baby's survival.




Even before she developed the Apgar Score, Dr. Apgar had already become the first female full professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

A score lower than 7 should warn caregivers that the baby needs medical attention. Virginia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and from the Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. "A Guide to Birth Defects", written with Joan Beck. "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".

Her contributions are even more noteworthy as she did her research and inventions at a time when women were discouraged to pursue higher education in medicine. 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.

She trained in anesthesia at the University of Wisconsin and Bellevue Hospital in the United States, but returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in 1938. The score, which has a scale of 0-2, helps in gauging the health of a newborn by taking into cognizance the basic functions of the body like heart rate, muscles' tone, respiration patterns, reflex, etc. and provides a result immediately thereafter.

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