Dr. Virginia Apgar, pioneer behind Apgar score, being celebrated with Google doodle

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This was because there was no commonly used method for measuring newborn health.

Today's Google Doodle (June 7) celebrates what would have been her 109th birthday, and features a cartoon of her conducting her namesake test.

Dr Apgar developed the now ubiquitous Apgar score in 1952.

Born in New Jersey in 1909, Apgar always had a keen interest in science. These are Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration. Upon clicking on the illustration, Dr Apgar is seen observing babies as they are and writing on her notepad. The scores help doctors identify whether a baby has health issues requiring extra care.

Depending on the observed condition, each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2. "I love to see new places, and I certainly can chatter", she said about the job she took working as the director of the department of birth defects for what is now the March of Dimes. Virginia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and from the Colombia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933. Score above 7 are normal and 4 to 6 are fairly low.

She was appointed the first woman Professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1949, according to a biography of the clinician at the Columbia University website. She noticed that the number of infant deaths within the first 24 hours remained high, despite the fact that overall the USA infant mortality rate was decreasing.

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Virginia also published over 60 scientific articles and became well-known in the study of birth defects - teratology.

She received a masters degree in public health at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, graduating in 1959.

She authored the book, "Is My Baby All Rights", with journalist Joan Beck in 1972.

But she could barely spend two years into her surgery residency as the then Chair of Surgery at the institution persuaded her to switch to anesthesia, an uncalled-for move that Columbia University termed "a reflection of the times".

She died on 7 August, 1974 because of a liver failure, a disease also called as cirrhosis. 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 passed away at the age of 65 in the same hospital where she was practising.

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