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."