Anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar (1909–1974) isn't a household name, but her protocol for quickly gauging a newborn's condition helped reform medical procedures in the delivery room. Read more about Apgar's life and contributions at this new exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science series.
The first female full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Apgar grew worried about the high death rate for newborns even in modern hospitals. She proposed a list of standard criteria for recognizing that a baby is in trouble: heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, response to stimulation, and color. Today, the Apgar score still dictates whether a youngster receives emergency treatment. Along with a biography, the site offers a cache of Apgar's letters and publications, including the 1953 paper in which she first described her assessment system.