Its Dr.Virginia Apgar 109th Birthday: Who was she?

(Virginia Apgar)

Why is Google Doodle celebrating Dr. Virginia Apgar?

Google Doodle is today celebrating the 109th birthday of Virginia Apgar. She was born on June 7, 1909, in New Jersey to a musical family.  Apgar always had a keen interest in science and she left school knowing that she wanted to be a doctor. She is described as a leader in the field of anesthesiology.

(Virginia Apgar)

Initially, she studied Zoology, Chemistry, and Physiology before attending Columbia University College of Surgeons and Physicians.

Here are few things you need to know about this groundbreaking physician:

  • Apgar was born in New Jersey. She was the youngest of three children and her father was an insurance executive.
  • Before she was born, her eldest brother died from tuberculosis.
  • Her initial journey was not easy. She was discouraged by Dr. Allen Whipple, the chairman of surgery at Columbia Medical Center, from pursuing her career as a surgeon.
  • At that time, there were less female doctors and women who did manage to attain degree were often discouraged.
  • In 1949, she became the first woman to become a full-time professor at Columbia University.
  • Notably, she became a leading figure in the fields of anesthesiology and teratology. She went on to assist delivery close to 20,000 babies.
  • In the 1950s, the infant deaths in 24 hours were very high in the US. At that time, she developed a test called Apgar score, which measures body function and helps a doctor to determine within 60 seconds after the birth whether the baby needs help to sustain life.

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