Published: 16/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5923 Page 21

Carol Deans' confused conversation with a worker from an accident and emergency department about a man 'presenting' there reminded me of when my son was in hospital (Off Centre, pages 14-15, 26 August).

A nurse told me: 'Your baby is alarming.' I felt quite panicky - until I realised she meant one of his monitors was (needlessly) sounding its alarm.

Jargon is indeed most hazardous when it uses ordinary words with different meanings.

The audience will probably know that they do not understand jargon using unusual terms. But they may well assume they do understand jargon - and so get the wrong end of the stick.

My book, Tackling NHS Jargon: getting the message across, gives practical advice on many of the problems in your article.

Sarah Carr Writer and editor Carr Consultancy