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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Obstetrics ~ Apgar score - Google doodle

In Science, Medicine, technology – often theories & techniques keep changing !! ~ ever heard of Apgar score ??

The birth of a child brings immense joy to all concerned.  There is nothing greater in life than being blessed with a baby and seeing it for the first time, as the Doctor shows the new born is the greatest ecstasy -  newborns are traditionally whisked off to a bath within the first few hours of their birth. But that is changing as in Western countries, Doctors and changing hospital protocols are proving that the concept of delayed bathing—waiting at least 8 to 12 hours to clean a newborn—is more than just a growing trend of wanting to spend more QT with your newborn.  It is stated that the  benefits of delayed bathing are gaining more prominence in the medical field, with many hospitals recommending against baby getting a bath for the first six to 12 hours after birth.

Back home in Bengaluru, an  abandoned newborn got a new lease of life after a policewoman went beyond of her line of duty to save him on Friday, June 1. Hidden among the rubble of a construction site, the baby struggled for his life when Bengaluru Police’s Archana leapt into action and took the newborn onto her lap and breastfed the child. The city police applauded Archana’s quick thinking and offered gratitude to her for saving the newborn’s life. The police team acknowledged her action by sharing her picture with the baby on their official twitter handle. “We salute our COP Smt. Archana, @BlrCityPolice for her kind motherhood affection of breastfeeding and rescuing an abandoned infant, while in her maternity,” the tweet read.

In Ahmedabad, to  prevent death of newborns due to lack of medical emergency facilities in health centres, the Gujarat government has decided to launch a dedicated ambulance service to shift critically ill infants to better equipped hospitals. Under the 'Neonatal ambulance service project for inter-hospital transfer', the government would deploy 10 specially-equipped ambulances across the state, a senior health official said.
Obstetrics and gynecology are medical specialties that focus on two different aspects of the female reproductive system. Obstetrics deals with the care of the pregnant women, the unborn baby, labor and delivery and the immediate period following childbirth. The obstetrician ensures that mother and child get the best prenatal care to ensure labor and delivery is accomplished without complications and that should intervention be needed, it is done quickly and safely. Gynecology deals with any ailment concerning the reproductive organs; uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries and vagina.

Apgar score :  "Each newborn is given a score of 0, 1, or 2 (a score of 2 meaning the newborn is in optimal condition, 0 being in distress) in each of the following categories: heart rate, respiration, colour, muscle tone, and reflex irritability. The scores were to be given to a newborn one minute after birth, and additional scores could be given in five-minute increments to guide treatment if the newborn's condition did not sufficiently improve."  The Apgar scale is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on five simple criteria on a scale from zero to two, then summing up the five values thus obtained. The resulting Apgar score ranges from zero to 10. The five criteria are summarized using words chosen to form a backronym (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration)..

Today's (7th June 2018)  Google doodle is celebrating what would have been the 109th  birthday of American anesthesiologist Dr Virginia Apgar. She may not be a well-known name everywhere  but she worked heavily in obstetrics and is responsible for creating the "Apgar score" which is given to newborns to quickly assess their health.

During her career she was the first woman to become a professor at the prestigious Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) in 1949. She became committed to lowering the USA's infant mortality rate by trying to investigate the first 24 hours of an infant's life and document trends to distinguish healthy babies from unhealthy ones. During her career, Dr. Apgar travelled widely and gave lectures across the US. She also published over sixty scientific articles and became well-known in the field of teratology - the study of birth defects.

She co-wrote a book in 1972 called "Is My Baby All Right?" which explained the causes and treatment of a variety of common birth defects. It also proposes precautions to help improve women's chances of having a healthy baby. she was given three honorary doctorates during her career, from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Mount Holyoke College and the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. Even during her busy career, she maintained a variety of interests that included music, fishing and stamp collecting. She even took flying lessons in her fifities.  She never married, and died in Aug 1974.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th June 2018.

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