Dr. Virigina Apgar, the woman who created the Apgar score, would have been 109 years old today. The American obstetrical anesthetist is credited for saving infants with the creation of her tool which has now become a standard practice in hospitals everywhere.

Virginia Apgar's Beginnings

Apgar was born on June 7, 1909, in Westfield, New Jersey. Apgar was the youngest of three children and her family was involved in music. Apgar would take lessons learning how to play the violin.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 1929, she attended Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons and graduated in 1933. Apgar became the first woman to become a board-certified anesthesiologist in 1937. Apgar went on to become a professor of anesthesiology in 1949 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and was the first female physician to receive the rank of professor at the college.

Apgar Score

After noticing that infants were still dying between the 1930's and the 1940's 24 hours after they leave the hospital, Apgar developed a system that will evaluate the health of newborn infants. In 1952, Apgar presented the Apgar Score, which is a method that quickly assesses the health of a newborn baby immediately after they were born.

The score, which is conducted five minutes after the infant's birth, measures the health of the infant from zero to ten and identifies five different criteria: pulse, grimace, appearance, activity, and respiration. This allowed doctors to determine which babies needed immediate care.

Scores above 7 are considered to be normal while any score between 4-6 is low. If a baby should score below 3, this is considered to be critically low and the baby must seek immediate medical help.

Virginia's Legacy

The Apgar score has saved the lives of countless babies as it was quickly adapted to hospitals across the United States and has lowered the national rate for infant mortality.

The Apgar score is now being used worldwide. Apgar passed away in 1974 at the age of 65 years old from cirrhosis of the liver. In 1995, Apgar was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

On June 7th, 2018, google doodle honored Apgar with a colorful image of her writing on a pad and a picture of a baby next to her.

Apgar lived her life as a fiercely independent woman and never married.

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