Less than two decades ago, the survival rate of premature babies in Tasmania was below Australian standards.
Thanks in part to the innovation and leadership of Professor Peter Dargaville, survival rates in Tasmania at every gestational age are now on par with or ahead of the national average, and the rates of chronic lung disease are consistently lower.
As the Director of Royal Hobart Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Peter was responsible for developing the innovative ‘Hobart Method’ – a less invasive way to deliver treatment to relieve respiratory distress in premature babies.
The method avoids the need for a breathing tube, reducing the risk of lung damage and improving outcomes for premature infants. It’s now used in over 40 countries.
Peter has also been instrumental in developing an automated system for controlling oxygen therapy in preterm babies. It increases time spent in a safe oxygen range by up to 25 percent, potentially improving long-term outcomes.