Virginia Apgar, Honored by Today's Google Doodle, Saved Countless Lives

Dr Virginia Apgar discovered the Apgar score for determining newborn's health immediately after birth

Dr Virginia Apgar is credited for the invention of a method called as Apgar score that helps in quickly summarising the health a newborn child.

Virginia Apgar is the subject of the Google home page's latest Doodle.

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

Later, Apgar's studies of obstetrical anesthesia led to her creating the Apgar score.

The US clinician was born in 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey to a musical family.

The Apgar test is performed on a baby at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. Babies are assessed under five factors: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.

Apgar invented the scoring system in 1952, and doctors have been using it for decades since.

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Each of these categories in Dr. Apgar's test earns the baby between zero and two points, depending on the health of the response.

"Compiled scores for each newborn can range between 0 and 10, with 10 being the best possible condition for a newborn". A higher score in the test means less threat to the baby's survival. Score above 7 are normal and 4 to 6 are fairly low.

She gave thousands of babies scores during the 1950s as the rate of infant mortality in the U.S. began to climb. The Apgar score was quickly adopted by hospitals across the USA and eventually worldwide and is credited for lowering the national infant mortality rate.

And she was a trailblazer in more ways than one: She was one of four women accepted into Columbia's medical school in 1929, and, while she was initially interested in pursuing a surgical residency, the chair of surgery at Columbia discouraged her from pursuing that field, and encouraged her to enter anesthesiology instead. The first letter of each step spells Apgar: A-P-G-A-R.

She also held a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University, worked for the March of Dimes as the head of its new congenital malformations division in the 1950s, and went on to become what is said to be the first medical professor to specialize in birth defects as a professor at Cornell University.

She trained in anaesthesia at the University of Wisconsin and Bellevue Hospital in the USA, but returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in 1938.

A United States postage stamp carrying her portrait was also released after her death. She breathed her last at the age of 65.

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