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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Fall 1994, Vol.14, No.3
Apgar Remembrances
Roy E. Brown'56

P&S Clinical Professor of Pediatrics

Many years ago, while on a third-year rotation in anesthesiology, I found myself observing an operation being performed with a patient under general anesthesia administered by a resident in anesthesiology. In the mid-50s at Columbia-Presbyterian, patients were monitored directly by the residents who manually took and recorded pulse rates, blood pressures, monitored fluids transfusion and anesthesia without the aid of automatic devices.
Dr. Apgar, who ran the rotation for the P&S students, was supervising several residents, and I vividly recall her suddenly coming by the patient I was observing. Without permitting the resident to notice, Dr. Apgar disconnected the oxygen tubing, checked her wrist watch, and, with a twinkle in her eyes, tossed a wink at me standing behind the resident. She then counted the number of seconds it took for the resident to become aware of the decreasing tissue oxygenation of patient by pure visual observation. This dramatically demonstrated that the residents working under her had to be on their toes at all times, particularly since Dr. Apgar was constantly in motion and at any time could and would put them to the test of their skills of regulating all aspects of anesthesiology.


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