Chronic dialysis patients are a vulnerable population that may be highly susceptible to medical errors, particularly when they are hospitalized. We performed a chart review of chronic hemodialysis patients admitted to surgical services at a tertiary care center in order to characterize lapses in patient safety. We conducted a retrospective chart review of admissions of patients receiving chronic hemodialysis to various surgical services at St. Michael's Hospital from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. For each hospitalization, we collected data on four process of care indicators of potential safety lapses. When these lapses were identified, we sought to determine whether: (i) the lapse was detected and remedied; and (ii) the lapse resulted in an adverse event. Among the 41 patients, 96 process of care lapses were identified. Multiple lapses were detected in 83% of the cohort. Failure to order a renal diet (72%) occurred most often. There was one adverse event. Process of care lapses were detected 39% of the time, usually within 1.5 days of their occurrence. Patients receiving chronic hemodialysis admitted to surgical services experience multiple lapses in patient safety, which often remain undetected. As such, it is imperative that these patients be closely monitored in order to mitigate against potential adverse events.