Crisis CheckLists:

Updated March 23, 2014
Author: Gagnon et al.

Description: Crisis Checklists developed for OR use at MMC; may be used at other sites, with modification

Crisis Event Checklists


Supplemental Checklists

Air Embolism - Venous    
Amniotic Fluid Embolism
Bradycardia - Unstable    
Local Anesthetic Toxicity
Cardiac Arrest - Asystole PEA    
Myocardial Ischemia
Cardiac Arrest - VF/VT    
OR Evacuation
Failed Airway    
Oxygen Supply Failure
OR Fire    
Power Failure
Pulmonary Embolism
Total Spinal Anesthesia
Malignant Hyperthermia    
Transfusion Reaction
Tachycardia - Unstable    
Telephone Numbers

About This Book & These Checklists

The checklists in this book are intended to assist caregivers in the treatment of high acuity, low frequency events that are complicated and difficult to manage. These checklists are designed to be used, stepwise, in real time during an event. If manpower permits, a dedicated "Checklist Reader" is suggested to assist the event leader by reading the leader the items in the checklist as the team progresses through the checklist. This allows the event leader to concentrate on the overall management of the patient.  However if manpower is insufficient, the team leader can read the checklist simultaneously while directing patient care. Other possible uses of these checklists include "prestudy”, either for general familiarization or immediately before a specific case in which an event seems likely (for example, studying a hemorrhage checklist before an AAA) and " postevent", perhaps as a guide to a debriefing.

As the "checklist movement" has progressed evidence has accumulated that checklist type documents improve the ability of caregivers to complete more of the crucial steps necessary to care for patients in critical situations.  All of us, no matter how skilled, suffer from decreased performance under extreme stress.  There is reasonable evidence to suggest that structured cognitive aids, such as an aviation style checklist, may help with this. Whether checklist use translates into improved patient outcomes is unknown, and likely depends on other factors, such as appropriate training and checklist design. However, the content of the checklists was determined by expert consensus and linking checklist use with the potential for improved patient outcomes seems logical.

            However, the mere presence of the checklist doesn't guarantee its use.  As this project goes forward we intend to integrate checklist use into our simulation and QA reporting, in an effort to get people to " think checklist", sooner rather than later.  An hour or two of self- study could pay big dividends, for patients and caregivers, at another time. Eventually we hope to have formal training.

The checklists in this document have been modified from the Harvard checklists and also the Stanford Anesthesia Department crisis checklists. Additionally we have written several checklists of our own and adapted a number of checklists for pediatric use -- these are in the rear of the book. All of the checklists have been reformatted and adapted for use at MMC. Members of Anesthesia Dept Quality Improvement Committee reviewed the entire document for correctness, completeness and usability.

This is intended to be a "living" document; it will be reviewed yearly for additions and corrections. Please feel free to contact us with suggestions or concerns.

 Finally, nothing in this book is intended to limit your ability to care for your specific patient; unforeseen circumstances will cause you to do what you think is best as a medical professional.





How to Use this Book

These checklists are intended to assist direct caregivers in fulfilling critical steps in the management of patients experiencing high acuity, low frequency events.

Consider Checklist use any time you need help with an unstable patient or call for a Code Cart.

Make certain you are using the right checklist for the clinical situation!!!!!!

If possible, a person not involved in the clinical care of the patient should read the checklist to the team leader.

The reader should take the leader through the steps sequentially.

The leader should acknowledge steps as they are completed.

They should move on to next step as necessary, or move to a different checklist as indicated.

Reading the checklist aloud will keep the entire team informed.

Familiarization with the contents of this book will help you use it when you need it!

These checklists are designed to help with task completion during stressful events and are not intended to replace good clinical judgment. Checklist use is voluntary.