Dr Virginia Apgar


DR VIRGINIA APGAR: Google Doodle are celebrating the 109th birthday of the doctor

The presence of Dr Virginia Apgar can still be felt in delivery rooms across the globe up until this day.

Today Google Doodle honour the doctor who invented the Apgar Score.

This instrument was the first standardised method for assessing a newborn’s health.

The animated, colourful Doodle shows Virginia with her scoreboard, taking note of the baby’s health.

Google explains: “It looks at 5 factors, which doctors remember by spelling out her last name: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.”

The revolutionising invention was first used in 1952, and has been used in nearly every hospital birth since.

However, this was not her only impressive claim to fame.

Dr Virginia Apgar Google Doodle

GOOGLE DOODLE: Dr Virginia Apgar invented the Apgar Score

“Today, on what would’ve been her 109th birthday, we celebrate a woman whose incredible life’s work continues to touch – and sometimes save – brand new lives every day”


Who was Dr Virginia Apgar?

Dr Virginia Apgar was born on June 7, 1909 in Westfield, New Jersey.

Despite growing up in a family with a devoted interest in music, she quickly developed a keen interest in medicine and science.

Her interest was sparked by severe medical problems in her family.

Virginia’s older brother died from tuberculosis, while her other problem suffered from a prolonged illness.

Graduating from Westfield High School in 1925, she knew she wanted to become a doctor.

She went on to study zoology with minors in physiology and chemistry, graduating in 1929.

In 1833 she graduated fourth in her class from Columbia Universe of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S).

She completed a residency in surgery at P&S in 1937.

The chairman of P&S, Dr Allen Whipple, persuaded her to go into anaesthesiology, because he felt the discipline needed her “energy and ability” to help it.

Virginia not only saved countless children with her invention, but she was also the first woman to become a full professor at her alma mater, the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

She was the director of the school’s department of anaesthesiology.

Dr Virginia Apgar

DR VIRGINIA APGAR: She developed an interest in medicine early on

After leaving Columbia in the late 1950s she devoted the rest of her life to prevent birth defects as a director at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

She also co-wrote a book in 1972 called “Is My Baby All Right?”, explaining the causes and treatment of a variety of common birth defects.

The influential doctor was given three honorary doctorates during her career.

They were from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, Mount Holyoke college and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry.

Virginia never married, and died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 7, 1974.


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