Surgical Safety Checklist


A Surgical Safety Checklist is an indispensable tool designed to enhance patient safety and streamline communication within medical practices and surgical teams.

This comprehensive checklist is meticulously crafted to ensure that critical steps are followed before, during, and after surgical procedures.

By utilizing this checklist, medical professionals can significantly reduce the risk of errors, improve teamwork, and ultimately provide safer and more efficient patient care.

Surgical Safety Checklist:

Preoperative Phase:

[  ] Patient’s identity verified using two patient identifiers.

[  ] Surgical site marked by the operating surgeon and confirmed by the patient.

[  ] Consent form signed and in place, addressing the procedure and potential risks.

[  ] Allergies, medications, and relevant medical history reviewed and confirmed.

[  ] Imaging (e.g., X-rays, MRI) reviewed and accessible.

Before Anesthesia:

[  ] Anesthesia machine and medications checked, including dosage calculations.

[  ] Airway equipment and backup devices inspected and readily available.

[  ] Patient’s vital signs, including oxygen saturation, checked and documented.

[  ] Informed consent for anesthesia obtained.

Before Skin Incision:

[  ] Team introduces themselves by name and role (time-out).

[  ] Procedure type, site, and any specific concerns confirmed aloud.

[  ] Essential imaging, blood products, and special equipment discussed.

[  ] Any potential complications discussed with the team.

During Surgery:

[  ] Sterility confirmed; all team members adhere to aseptic techniques.

[  ] Anesthesia monitoring and patient positioning reviewed.

[  ] Ongoing communication and updates on the procedure’s progress maintained.

[  ] Confirmation of critical steps (e.g., vessel ligation, implant placement) audibly verified.

[  ] Blood loss monitored and documented throughout the procedure.

[  ] Intraoperative imaging reviewed as necessary.

Before Patient Leaves Operating Room:

[  ] All equipment and materials used accounted for.

[  ] Surgical team confirms the intended procedure was completed as planned.

[  ] Any equipment implanted is verified and documented accurately.

[  ] Specimens for pathology labeled and documented appropriately.

Postoperative Phase:

[  ] Patient’s condition and vitals assessed in the recovery area.

[  ] Relevant postoperative orders given, including medications and follow-up instructions.

[  ] Appropriate documentation completed, detailing the procedure, findings, and interventions.

[  ] Handoff communication provided to postoperative care team.


[  ] Team debriefs to discuss any issues, complications, or lessons learned.

[  ] Documentation of debriefing discussions and identified improvements.

The Surgical Safety Checklist serves as an invaluable resource for medical practices and surgical teams dedicated to upholding the highest standards of patient safety and quality care. 

By consistently employing this checklist, medical professionals can enhance communication, reduce the likelihood of errors, and create a culture of teamwork within the operating room. 

Embrace the power of structured safety procedures to ensure that each surgical journey is marked by precision, collaboration, and the utmost commitment to patient well-being.

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