MORE protection has been urged for doctors against legal action from patients and their relatives in order to increase the number of life-saving operations and organ donations. ''Legislation is needed to limit the possibility of doctors being sued and to pinpoint the exact moment of death so that they are more willing to perform risky operations and more organs can be made available for transplants,'' Anna Pao Sohmen of the Liver Foundation said. There is a serious shortage of donated organs in Hong Kong, but doctors are still required to get the approval of a dead persons' relatives to use their organs even if the deceased carried a donor card. ''With such a shortage of organ donations something must be done to change the present situation, which makes a mockery of carrying a donor card,'' Mrs Sohmen said. The call comes after the Hong Kong Public Doctors' Association (HKPDA) claimed that medical practitioners would soon be paying up to $10,000 a year in insurance premiums to protect themselves in the event of legal action. Association president Dr Chu Kin-wah said: ''We advise every doctor to take out personal insurance but with the medical profession facing more legal action every year the premiums are rising rapidly.'' But both the HKPDA and the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff said legislation was not the answer to spiralling insurance costs. Assistant secretary of the association Michael Mak Kwok-fung said: ''An increasing number of doctors are being sued but it is extremely difficult to legislate against this kind of action.''