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Virginia Apgar (June 7, 1909 – August 7, 1974) was an American anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Apgar score.
See the fact file below for more information on the Virginia Apgar or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Virginia Apgar worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Virginia was born in a poor family.
- She was raised in Westfield, New Jersey.
- She was the youngest of three children.
- Her father was an amateur scientist and astronomer. He had a laboratory in their basement and he also made a telescope on his own.
- One of her brothers died from tuberculosis and her other brother had a chronic sickness, and this is why Virginia decided to become a doctor.
- Virginia Apgar graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where she studied zoology with minors in physiology and chemistry.
- At that time, she had to live only at the expense of a modest scholarship and various part-time work (including catching cats for a zoological laboratory).
- In September 1929, Virginia Apgar finally achieved her goal by enrolling at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (Columbia University College of Therapy and Surgery) in New York.
DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS
- But the Great Depression started. Nevertheless, she still managed to continue her studies by borrowing money from a family friend. By the time she received a diploma of higher medical education (1933), she had accumulated debts amounting to about 4 thousand dollars. In those times, it was a huge amount, especially for an unmarried woman who wanted to become a surgeon.
- Virginia began working in October 1933 as an intern doctor in surgery and quickly achieved some success in this area. However, a year later she began to study again, now to become an anesthesiologist.
- What made Virginia change her mind? It was much more difficult for a woman surgeon to be professionally organized, financially independent, and accepted in the surgical community on a par with men. In addition, Dr. Alan Whipple, Chief Surgeon of the State of Colombia, planned to raise the level of anesthesia to where it should be, and Virginia Apgar, in his opinion, was the most suitable candidate to initiate this process.
- At that time she wrote in her personal diary: “Today for the first time I gave anesthesia. In general, everything went well, but the patient did not wake up for a long time … Another trouble happened today – the patient almost died”.
- In 1938, Virginia Apgar returned to Colombia as head of the department of anesthesiology at the Department of Surgery.
- However, soon the young head of the department faced new problems. Recruitment was very difficult and the workload was enormous, especially when World War II began. Surgeons still considered themselves the most important people in the operating room and did not want to treat anesthesiologists as equivalent colleagues in the operation. In addition, the work of anesthesiologists was paid lower than the work of the surgeon.
- This is why Dr. Apgar moved to work in obstetric anesthesiology – an industry that at that time was in a rather neglected state. To raise it to the proper level, well-trained interns were required.
- In 1949, Apgar became the first female professor at Columbia P & S, while at the same time she was engaged in scientific and research work at Sloane Hospital for Women.
- In 1959, she was invited to take the post of director of the new division of the National Foundation for Congenital Malformations.
- “No one talks about resigning or retiring,” she said. “This is a completely new turn in my career, and it is very interesting for me.” Apgar devoted the last 15 years of her life to work in the National Fund, and put a lot of effort into its successful work.
- The most important thing Virginia did in her life was to invent the Apgar score in 1952.
- At the 27th Annual Anesthesiology Congress (1952), Virginia Apgar for the first time officially presented her system for assessing the state of a newborn in the first minutes of life.
- For the ease of memorizing the necessary criteria for assessing the condition of a newborn, Virginia Apgar used five letters of her own last name:
- Grimace (Response to Stimulation);
- Activity (Muscle Tone) – activity of movements;
- Monitoring of all indicators is carried out in the first minute after birth, then in the fifth minute of life.
- Virginia Apgar was also into music: she played violin and cello. Together with her friend they made a cello, viola, and two violins on their own.
- She also was a big fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team.
- Virginia was also a philatelist.
- She enjoyed deep sea fishing.
- In 1973, she was also elected Woman of the Year in Science by the Ladies Home Journal.
- Apgar published over sixty scientific articles and numerous shorter essays for newspapers and magazines during her career, along with her book, Is My Baby All Right?
- Virginia Apgar was a good speaker and a pleasant person to talk with.
- She also enjoyed gardening.
- Apgar took flying lessons. Her dream was to fly under George Washington Bridge in New York.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- Virginia Apgar died of cirrhosis in 1974, at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
- In 1994, she was honored by the United States Postal Service with a 20¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.
- In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
- On June 7, 2018, Google celebrated Apgar’s 109th birthday with a Google Doodle.
Virginia Apgar Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Virginia Apgar across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Virginia Apgar worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Virginia Apgar (June 7, 1909 – August 7, 1974) who was an American anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Apgar score.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Virginia Apgar Facts
- Check yourself.
- Catch a cat!
- She changed her mind.
- It’s in her name
- Imagine and draw.
- The sound of music. .
- Let’s grow a garden.
- Find them all.
- Choose your profession.
- Her book.
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Virginia Apgar Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 7, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.