There is little evidence that surgical mask use by physicians in the operating room (OR) reduces surgical site infections (SSIs), but masks do protect the wearer from potentially infectious splashes. Face shields offer even more protection because they cover the eyes, but they may be perceived as offering less protection to the patient than do masks. The objectives of this study were to ascertain if there were predictors to determine which OR physicians are continuing to use masks and what their reasons are for doing so, and which OR physicians would accept face shields and their reasons for doing so.
We surveyed the province of Alberta's surgeons, general practice (GP) surgeons, anesthesiologists, and GP anesthetists to determine how many physicians in the OR wear surgical masks, their reasons for wearing surgical masks (ethical, legal, protection of the patient, protection of the wearer), and if they believe that face shields offer more protection to the patient or to the wearer. We also sought to examine which demographic factors affected their responses. The data were examined with chi(2) analysis to assess the relationships of age and practitioner type, and for various outcome variables. A significance level of P