Obituary – Peter Dunn (C2 1942-47)

Peter Dunn (C2 1942-47), a pioneer of perinatal medicine died on 2nd February 2021.

A remarkable man who introduced many innovations and developments that made immense improvements to the care of newborns, his impact and influence cannot be understated.

He introduced the term perinatal medicine in 1957 and developed the specialty in the UK and internationally. Under his influence, the perinatal mortality rate fell in England from 30 out of 1,000 births in 1965 to 6 in 1,000 in 2019. Within three years of his lectureship (the first for this specialty in the world) in Bristol, neonatal mortality fell by 74%.

“His contributions to perinatal classification systems were central, and he led the establishment of regional neonatal networks; the perinatal mortality in south-west England, where he was based at Bristol University, moved from being the highest for any region in 1980 to the lowest in 1983.”*

He introduced the Gregory box in 1971, that provides Continuous positive airway pressure in the treatment of infant respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn a treatment that later was used in other specialties, including treatment for Covid-19.

He also conducting ground breaking research into Hip dysplasia and fetal adaptation to extrauterine life.

He leaves behind his wife, Judy Lunt whom he married in 1961 and three children, Robert, John and Sara.


A full and fascinating obituary written by his colleague Brent Taylor, emeritus professor of community child health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, can be read here.


*from The Guardian.