From cnet.com: During the 1930s and '40s, Dr. Virginia Apgar noticed a troubling trend involving newborns.
While the infant mortality rate in the US had declined, the rate of infant deaths within the first 24 hours after birth remained constant. As an obstetric anesthesiologist, Apgar was able to identify physical characteristics that could distinguish healthy newborns from those in trouble.
Apgar's observations led to the development in 1952 of the Apgar score, a quick and convenient method for immediately evaluating how well the newborn weathered the birthing process, especially the effects of obstetric anesthesia.
To honor Apgar's contribution to neonatology -- the medical care of newborn infants -- Google dedicated its Doodle Thursday to the doctor on her 109th birthday.
But how far have we come for US babies? Sure, we can test their health with the Apgar. But we remain at the bottom of the pack for first day mortality. From a 2013 National Geographic story:
In the United States, babies are 50 percent more likely to die on the same day they were born than in all of the other industrialized countries combined, according to the report. Each year, nearly 11,300 babies die on the day they were born in the United States, making American babies twice as likely to die in their first 24 hours as European Union babies.
My girls scored high on their Apgars. I'll bet yours did too.