Quotes From Dr. Virginia Apgar, Creator of Apgar Scale

Henrietta Brewer
June 8, 2018

She perused her dream to become a doctor when she attended the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Through her work she noticed that between the 1930s and 1950s, while the infant mortality rate in the United States was decreasing, the number of infants who lost their lives in the first 24 hours after their birth remained stable.

She developed a test known as the Apgar Score, which measures body functions and helps doctors determine within 60 seconds after the birth whether a baby needs help to sustain life.

It is a method of measuring how healthy a baby is immediately after it is born and, despite being created in the 1950s, is still used across America today.


After she started her work in NY in 1933, Dr Apgar was concerned by the treatment of newborn babies.

In her honour, Google is changing its logo in 15 countries to a doodle, or illustration, of her and the Apgar score.

She was the director of the school's department of anaesthesiology. This research led to the invention of what is known as the Apgar score, according to Wikipedia.

Virginia Apgar was born on June 7, 1909.


"Five points-heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex response, and color-are observed and given 0, 1, or 2 points".

She was a staunch advocate ofr universal vaccination and early intervention for the prevention of birth defects. Babies are assessed under five factors: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration. For each of the criteria, babies receive a score between 0 and 2, and they need to sum up as much as possible.

A baby is scored one minute after birth with additional measurements being made at five minute intervals if the infant's condition did not improve.

She was honoured with doctorates from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Mount Holyoke College and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame, and in 1973, she co-authored the landmark book Is My Baby All Right? The units are 0 to 10, with 7 and above being normal, 4 to 6 fairly low, and 3 and below are critical. "A Guide to Birth Defects", written with Joan Beck.


Virginia, who never married, died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 7, 1974, at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

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