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Wound Sizing

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As nurses, we know that wounds should be measured and recorded precisely. And we know that wounds are tracked by their size in centimeters.

Unfortunately, jury members and other non-medical people  in the United States are unfamiliar with the metric system. If you tell them a wound is 10 cm long, jury members may picture a wound that is 10 inches long instead of its real length of 4 inches.

As a new legal nurse consultant, you can assist attorneys, and eventually juries, by describing wounds in both centimeters and inches. It's even more helpful if you can describe how the wound compares to common objects that everyone is likely to understand. The attorney might even hold up that common object in front of a jury one day. (Well, maybe not the ladybug.) So here's a list of common sizes in centimeters and objects corresponding to that size. Due to rounding, some sizes appear more than once.

0.1 cm 0.04 inches Grain of sugar
0.2 cm 0.08 inches Pencil point
0.5 cm 0.2 inches Pea
0.6 cm 0.2 inches Pencil eraser
0.9 cm 0.4 inches Ladybug
1.1 cm 0.4 inches Diameter of AAA battery
1.4 cm 0.6 inches Diameter of AA battery
1.6 cm 0.6 inches Diameter of jeans button
1.7 cm 0.7 inches Diameter of A battery
1.8 cm 0.7 inches Dime
1.9 cm 0.8 inches Penny
2.1 cm 0.8 inches Nickel
2.4 cm 1 inch Quarter
2.6 cm 1 inch Diameter of C battery
2.7 cm 1.1 inches Diameter of light bulb base
3.4 cm 1.3 inches Diameter of D battery
4.3 cm 1.7 inches Diameter of golf ball
6.4 cm 2.5 inches Diameter of tennis ball
7.6 cm 3 inches Diameter of soup can
9.2 cm 3.6 inches Length of regular crayon
10 cm 4 inches Diameter of drink coaster
15 cm 6 inches Diameter of saucer
23 cm 9 inches Circumference of baseball
29 cm 11.4 inches Circumference of softball

You'll notice that not every size is listed. If you find a wound that's in-between sizes, use a metric conversion tool. And you can still use the size chart to describe the wound.  For example: "The wound was 2.3 cm (0.9 inches) in diameter or a little smaller than a quarter." Or: "The wound measured 6.1 cm (2.4 inches) in diameter, nearly the size of a tennis ball."

...Katy Jones




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