Health Care

Quotes From Dr. Virginia Apgar, Creator of Apgar Scale

Quotes From Dr. Virginia Apgar, Creator of Apgar Scale

Virginia Apgar was an American obstetrical anesthetist, best known as the inventor of the Apgar score.

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

Google doodle today remembers Dr Apgar on what would have been her 109th birthday.

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

As a medical student, Apgar noted that a number of babies that had seemed healthy at birth were dying soon after leaving the hospital. 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.

This prompted the fiercely passionate physician to develop her score, which has a range of zero to ten based on a tot's condition. The scores help doctors identify whether a baby has health issues requiring extra care. She was also the first woman to head a division at the Presbyterian Hospital in NY. An Apgar Score between 4 and 6 may mean some medical intervention is needed. Apgar developed the test in 1952 when infant mortality rates were high.

Apgar graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in the United States with flying colours. She joined Columbia University as its first full-time woman professor in 1949 and was the first woman to head a division at New York's Presbyterian Hospital. "A Guide to Birth Defects", written with Joan Beck.

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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 masters degree in public health at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, graduating in 1959.

But she could barely spend two years into her surgery residency as the then Chair of Surgery at the institution persuaded her to switch to anaesthesia, an uncalled-for move that Columbia University termed "a reflection of the times".

Apart from developing her famous scoring exercise, Dr. Apgar was a notable advocate for universal vaccination in order to combat the rubella epidemic of the mid-Sixties.

She died on 7 August, 1974 because of a liver failure, a disease also called as cirrhosis.

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


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