China’s leading lung transplant surgeon has complained after being prevented from boarding a flight while transporting donor organs for a crucial life-saving operation, mainland media reports. Doctor Chen Jingyu said more lives would be saved if communication between hospitals and aviation authorities over donor organ transportation was improved, the news portal Thepaper.cn reported. Chen, deputy president of Wuxi People’s Hospital in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, and his team were prevented from boarding a China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Wuxi on Sunday morning, even though he had notified the airline of his plans the day before. Urgent reforms were needed so lives could be saved through better channels of communication between airlines and hospitals so donor organs were transported without delay, Chen told the Thepaper.cn. Earlier on Sunday Chen had taken the lungs from a donor in Cenxi in southeastern China’s Guangxi province. He had then planned to drive from Cenxi to Guangzhou and then take the latest available flight to Wuxi. However, he and his team were delayed for up to two hours by a traffic jam on main highway leading to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport because of the week-long National Day holiday, which began last Thursday. Chen said the delay meant they arrived only 15 minutes before take-off and were not allowed to board the aircraft, even though they had coordinated their travel plans with the airline the day before. Fortunately, Chen and his team were able to board a later Shenzhen Airlines flight to Wuxi, taking off 90 minutes later, and he arrived just before the donor organs would have deteriorated to the point where they could no longer be used in a transplant operation. In response to Chen’s complaint, China Southern Airlines it would make sure it improved its internal communications in the future. China has the world’s largest organ transplantation programme in the world, and most of the organ transportation is done by civil airlines; in the West, the transportation of organs is carried out by emergency medical services using commercial airlines. Although this system is much faster, it is also more expensive, which has put off many mainland patients and families from using it. Chen said delays in the transportation of organs in the first half of the year meant that, of the 300 lungs donations offered for transplant, many had been wasted and only 60 successful operations had been carried out.