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08 June 2018, 10:41 | Rodolfo Wallace
Virginia Apgar would have been 101 on Thursday
The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process and the 5-minute score tells the health care provider how well the baby is doing outside the mother's womb, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Apgar was born on June 7, 1909 in Westfield, N.J., and died August 7, 1974. The Apgar test, an acronym for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration, takes a minute to ascertain if a newborn needs immediate medical assistance. Upon clicking on the illustration, Dr Apgar is seen observing babies as they are and writing on her notepad.
"Compiled scores for each newborn can range between 0 and 10, with 10 being the best possible condition for a newborn".
The Apgar Score's name is not just that of its creator - each letter refers to a part of the test. 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.
Apgar graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in the USA with flying colours. An Apgar Score between 4 and 6 may mean some medical intervention is needed. "The points are then totaled to arrive at the baby's score", is how she explained the Apgar score she created in her journal article "Evaluation of the Newborn Infant-Second Report".
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She received a masters degree in public health at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, graduating in 1959.
Her contributions are even more noteworthy as she did her research and inventions at a time when women were discouraged to pursue higher education in medicine.
Even before she developed the Apgar Score, Dr. Apgar had already become the first female full professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
She trained in anaesthesia at the University of Wisconsin and Bellevue Hospital in the United States, but returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in 1938. The Apgar score was quickly adopted by hospitals across the USA and eventually worldwide and is credited for lowering the national infant mortality rate.
She worked nearly up until her death at the age of 64.
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