Westland councillor urging Kiwis to donate blood after nearly dying in freak gardening accident

A Westland District Councillor is imploring people to consider becoming blood donors, following his own dice with death

Latham Martin severed arteries and veins in a gardening accident, and needed dozens of blood transfusions to survive.

Latham Martin bears one heck of a scar from a freak accident a fortnight ago. The Westland District councillor was using a weed eater when a stone flicked up, hitting him in the ribs.

"The stone hitting my ribs created a concussion wave through my body, which blew out some of my arteries and veins around my heart and lung," he said.

Rushed to hospital in Greymouth, he underwent emergency surgery before being airlifted to Wellington for more.

The 26-year-old required 31 blood transfusions to keep him alive.

"To wake up knowing your whole body is full of other people's blood, and you've literally lost your entire volume of blood with an internal injury and surgery, was surreal," he said.

The New Zealand Blood service says the amount Latham required equates to 31 individual blood donations.

It's a staggering amount, but not an isolated case. The Blood Service is now calling for people to consider becoming a donor in 2021.

"Blood only lasts 35 days, so that's why we constantly need donors to book and come in," spokesperson Asuka Burge said.

"Our blood is always on the shelves when it's needed and that's why we're asking people to come - and particularly for new donors to come forward."

It's a sentiment echoed by Latham Martin, at home in Hokitika recovering from his injuries.

"Lots of people have asked me how they can help me. My answer to them is: give blood. Ring up the Christchurch office - it's an hour out of your time and it saves lives."