Life History

Dr. Virginia Apgar was an American obstetrical anesthesiologist and a pioneer in the field of neonatology.

Biography of Virginia Apgar and Discovery

Virginia Apgar Birth

Dr. Virginia Apgar was born on June 7, 1909, in Westfield, New Jersey, USA.

Virginia Apgar Accomplishments

Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) was an American anesthesiologist and obstetrical anesthesiologist. She is best known for developing the "Apgar Score," a simple and rapid method for assessing the physical condition of newborn infants immediately after birth. The score is based on five criteria: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color. This scoring system revolutionized the field of neonatology and has been used worldwide to evaluate newborns and ensure prompt interventions for those in distress. Apgar also made significant contributions to the field of anesthesiology, including improving the safety of anesthesia during childbirth and promoting the specialty of obstetrical anesthesiology.

The Apgar Score is still widely used today and remains an important tool for assessing the immediate needs of newborns and determining the appropriate course of medical intervention.

Virginia Apgar Family Background

Dr. Virginia Apgar's parents father Charles Emerson Apgar and mother Helen May Apgar.

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Dr. Virginia Apgar had a passion for music and played the violin as part of her family's musical traditions. She also enjoyed other hobbies such as gardening, fly-fishing, golfing, stamp collecting, and took up flying lessons later in life with the goal of flying under the George Washington Bridge. Despite facing sex inequalities in her medical career, Dr. Apgar maintained that being female did not impose significant limitations on her and worked around these limitations by continuously pushing into new fields. She was a determined and accomplished individual who made significant contributions to the improvement of maternal and newborn health.

Virginia Apgar Education

Virginia Apgar was educated at Mount Holyoke College, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Zoology, followed by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she received her medical degree. After completing her medical education, she went on to receive training in Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

Virginia Apgar Career

virginia apgar was the inventor of the Apgar Score, a quick assessment tool that determines the physical condition of newborns at one and five minutes after birth. The score revolutionized the care of newborns and has been used worldwide for over six decades. Dr. Apgar was also an advocate for maternal and newborn health and worked to improve standards for neonatal care.


Dr. Virginia Apgar, an American obstetrical anesthesiologist, did not win any awards. However, she is widely recognized for her contributions to the field of anesthesia and newborn medicine. She is best known for creating the "Apgar Score," a quick assessment tool used to evaluate the physical condition of newborns immediately after birth.

Virginia Apgar Personal Life

Virginia Apgar was never married and had no children. In her personal life, Dr. Apgar was known for her love of music and was an accomplished violinist. She was also an avid traveler and nature lover, and enjoyed hiking and camping. Dr. Apgar was a trailblazer in her field and made significant contributions to the field of maternal and infant health, improving the lives of countless families.

Virginia Apgar Death

Dr. Virginia Apgar passed away on August 7, 1974, at the age of 65.

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