When writing a medical article the author has in mind that it will be read by his (her) colleagues or supervisors or more widely by other health professionals. But more and more the patients, with internet, have access to the scientific medical writing. Thus authors have to be careful about how they describes the subjects of their study. A respectful description of the study participants and of the people to which the authors aim to apply the results of their study is the less that is required for an ethical writing.
Professor Patt Thomson warns the authors about this sensitive topic in his blog here:
And Tessa Richards, a BMJ editor, plans to include representatives of patients in the team of BMJ reviewers here:
Have a good Week End.