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Virginia Apgar
 Ceramic Sculpture   
25" x 15" x 6"

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Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)

Apgar went to medical school in 1929 to become a surgeon. However, the chair of the surgery department discouraged her to study surgery because she was a woman. Instead she specialized in the emerging field of anesthesiology. She worked in the clinic and conducted research at Sloan Hospital for Women.

In 1953 Virginia introduced the "Apgar Score" to assess the health of newborn babies at one minute and five minutes after birth. The test measures five simple criteria: Complexion, Pulse, Reflex, Activity, and Respiration. Apgar always carried bottled oxygen with her on her rounds and saved countless babies using oxygen alone.

The Agar Score Test reduced infant mortality and laid the foundation of neonatology, the the study of infant medical care. Today the Apgar Score is a standard test used in hospitals worldwide.

As a child Apgar was a fount of energy and took on many hobbies including fly fishing, golf, gardening, cello, violin, and stamp collecting. She was an instrument maker and built her own violin.

Later in life she went to work with the March of Dimes as its Medical Director for research into the causes of birth defects.