Failure to Survive

A story of uniting a team to save the life of a patient told through dance.

"Failure to Survive" by Unbound Dance
Artistic Director and Choreographer: Caroline Lewis Jones
Co-Director and Founder: Susan Dabney Hancock
Dancers: Taylor Cate, Christy Hanover, Nicole Couture, Carolyn Bolten, Brian Richardson, Carly Gallup, Chelsea Woods and Becky Lee
Music by: The Album Leaf

To honor the Lewis W. Blackman Patient Champion Award recipients, Columbia’s Unbound Dance produced and performed a custom piece, 'Failure to Survive', during the annual awards luncheon. Unbound Artistic Director Caroline Lewis Jones worked closely with nationally recognized patient advocate Helen Haskell and the SCHA Quality and Patient Safety Team as she began to create Failure to Survive.

 “The Unbound performance was absolutely staggering.  Caroline Lewis Jones and her dancers came together to create a piece that perfectly captures the anguish of a patient and family member who cannot make their caregivers understand the seriousness of their concerns.  This is a superbly crafted work conveying a message we all need to hear, and hear again,” commented Helen Haskell.  It was the story of Helen’s son, Lewis Blackman, which inspired 'Failure to Survive'.  Lewis died in 2000 at the age of 15 as the result of preventable complications following an elective surgery.


Jones was able to illustrate, through the voice of dance, the human tendency to work independently within a team setting and the inevitable error and weakness that result. She juxtaposed this scene by joining the separated team together into one fluid movement, demonstrating the power of functioning as one element. That power can mean the difference between life and death in the health care industry.


"'Failure to Survive' was one of the most awe inspiring, emotionally charged performances I have seen.  Through her choreography, Caroline mastered capturing the challenges and opportunities we face as caregivers. The Unbound dancers’ technique was both intriguing technically and touching emotionally. I am truly impressed at how the dancers were able to express through movement the range of emotions involved when patient harm occurs and the joy that can come to everyone involved when harm is prevented,” said Rick Foster, MD, senior vice president of quality and patient safety at SCHA.


05-18-2011 10:25 (EDT)