Today’s Google doodle honours 109th birthday of American anesthesiologist Dr Virginia Apgar. Virginia Apgar is known as one of the leading figures in the field of anaesthesiology and teratology. She is known for her work in the fields of anaesthesiology and teratology, a field related to anesthesia (loss of sensation), anesthetics and the study of abnormalities of psychological development in newly-born babies babies.
She was born on June 7, 1909 as the youngest of three children to a musical family in Westfield, New Jersey. Since childhood Apgar had a keen interest in the science subject and she was always sure of becoming a doctor in the future.
Medical practitioners found out that a malformed child or a child with difficulty in breathing could be revived through oxygen, if attended within five minutes of being born. Dr Apgar is the woman behind “Apgar score”: a unique score given to newborns to assess their health within one to five minutes after the birth.
The Apgar scale is determined by five simple criterion:
One each scale, the newborn baby is given 0 to 2. The final Apgar score ranges from zero to 10. It soon became clear that a baby with a poor rating could be resuscitated, by oxygen and warming, to a good score in around five minutes.
Apgar who was disturbed by the treatment meted out to newborn babies who were deformed or had trouble breathing, soon discovered infants who were blue or were struggling to breathe were listed as stillborn and left to die. It drove her to develop a score which scores newborn child between zero to ten on the basis of its health.
The Apgar scale was create by her after committed to lowering America’s infant mortality rate by investigating the first 24 hours of an infant’s life and document trends to distinguish healthy babies from those who require medical attention.
Apgar’s invention has revolutionised child mortality rate from 1 in 30 in the 1950s to 1 in 500 today.
Apart from inventing the method of Apgar score, she is known for her contributions to the book, “Is My Baby All Right? A Guide to Birth Defects”, written with Joan Beck. The books explains the causes and treatment of a variety of birth defects. It was published in 1972.
She died on 7 August, 1974 because of a liver failure, a disease also called as cirrhosis.
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