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March 21, 1977

How to Determine Patient Weights in Excess of Balance Limits

Author Affiliations

Staten Island, NY

JAMA. 1977;237(12):1198. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270390014002

To the Editor.—  The balances available in most offices, clinics, and hospitals, for weighing patients usually are limited to weight up to 157.5 kg (350 lb), with some available that have a maximum of 180 kg (400 lb). On occasion, it becomes desirable to weigh certain obese patients who exceed these limits. This communication is intended to call attention to a very simple procedure for using the existing balances for this purpose.One often hears of the following rather cumbersome solutions:

  1. Obtain a balance with a higher maximum. (These are either impossible or difficult to obtain.)

  2. Place two scales next to each other and have the patient stand with one foot on one scale and one foot on the other. (If, unrealized by either the patient or the examiner, the patient unconsciously shifts his weight during the process of weighing toward one leg rather than the other, the