Safe Surgery

Safer surgery

Making Surgery Safer

More than 700,000 surgeries are performed in our state each year. The ultimate goal of Safe Surgery 2015: South Carolina is simple – to keep every patient safe during every one of those surgeries.

The use of a surgical safety checklist, similar to a pilot’s pre-flight checklist, has been shown to help surgical teams communicate effectively in the operating room. This can prevent harm to patients including infections, wrong site surgery and even death. Successful checklist use is predicted to save the lives of up to 500 South Carolinians each year.

In 2011 the leaders of every hospital in the state committed to learn more, educate their staff members and use the checklist in their operating rooms.

South Carolina patient Diann Simms said the pre-surgery checklist she went through with the surgical team before her own operation made her feel safe:

I just thought…this is the most wonderful thing in the world! It really, really comforted me, and I felt like I was participating, and I wasn’t just the patient on the table – I was Diann."


  • 100% participation by every acute care member hospital in the state.
  • 80% of medical staff polled said they believed surgical safety checklist use had prevented complications in their operating rooms.
  • 93% said they would want the checklist used during their own surgeries.



  • 65 South Carolina hospitals
  • The Harvard School of Public Health
The Duke Endowment Logo

This work is made possible by the generosity of The Duke Endowment. South Carolina’s hospitals are grateful for the vision of James B. Duke, who established The Duke Endowment in December of 1924. For more information on the legacy of Mr. Duke and the work of The Duke Endowment, visit