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Google Doodle honors Mount Holyoke's Virginia Apgar

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The Apgar score helps doctor determine the health of newborn properly

Born on June 7 in the united States' New Jersey, she is known for creating the Apgar Score that made understanding and summarising the health of a newborn easy.

Born in 1909, Dr Virginia Apgar was the youngest of the three children. The test is carried out within five minutes of birth and it takes about a minute to judge if the infant needs any immediate medical attention. She devised a test for evaluating the health of newborns, focusing on five factors with the helpful mnemonic device of the first letters of each factor spelling her last name: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration.

The Apgar score contributed immensely towards reducing infant mortality. On the other hand, the 5-minute score tells the health care provider how well the baby is doing outside the mother's womb.

Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition. Virginia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and from the Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. An Apgar Score between 4 and 6 may mean some medical intervention is needed.

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While Apgar died in 1974, the Google Doodle celebrates what would have been Apgar's 109th birthday and features a cartoon of her conducting her namesake test, which was invented the test in 1952.

Apgar was quick to realise the trend and concentrated on the methods for decreasing the infant mortality rate specifically within the first 24 hours of the newborn's life. "A Guide to Birth Defects" published in collaboration with Joan Beck.

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 was discouraged from practising surgery as a career, her University chose her male colleague to head the department even though she was seniormost, and she had to fight for equal pay. An anesthesiologist by training, she climbed the ranks at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in the 1930s and '40s, when anesthesiology wasn't recognized as a medical specialty.

She trained in anesthesia at the University of Wisconsin and Bellevue Hospital in the U.S., but returned to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in 1938. She passed away at the age of 65 in the same hospital where she was practising.

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