A liver patient who died after waiting 10 hours to discover whether he could have a transplant should have been dealt with immediately, health chiefs said yesterday. The Hong Kong Medical Association said that under the law Leung Mong-han, 36, wife of Chow Yam-fun, 36, who was unconscious, had to apply to the Human Organ Transplant Board to see whether they would allow the transplant. But Dr So Kai-ming, president of the association, said: 'The urgent application to the board for approval made in the small hours was not answered until more than 10 hours later. 'The necessity for a transplant and the availability of an organ may arrive at short notice at any time of day. Board members must realise that medical decisions must be made urgently to save lives.' Chow died on October 21, two days after the request for a transplant using a liver from his mainland nephew was rejected. The organ transplant board, which has nine members appointed by the Secretary for Health and Welfare - including four doctors - claims to be available around-the-clock. But a board spokesman said: 'We have to look at applications from living donors very carefully as two people's lives could be at risk as there may be medical complications involved with living donors.' The association proposed to the Legislative Council's health services panel ways to improve the law on transplants. Problems have arisen with the law, which was enacted in April and set up to prevent commercial organ donor trading, because no-one can undergo a transplant unless they have signed a consent form. On November 6, Fung Kwok-leung, 41, died after no donor match could be found. He was in a coma and could not have signed the consent form if a donor had been traced.