However, his outlook changed after a 10-minute conversation he had five months after his accident with a Lao government official — a survivor of a bomb accident who inspired him to get on with his life and complete his education.
He later studied business management at a local college.
Thoummy is keen to recount his own experiences and bears no apparent grudge against the US.
Asked if the US is responsible for clearing the unexploded bombs, he squirms a little and says: “It would be good if the USA thinks about the problem in Laos and if we have more support.”
International help for bomb clearance only began in earnest about 20 years ago, and it will take many decades more to render affected land safe.
Since 1997, the US has provided US$47 million in assistance, including US$9 million last year.
In July last year, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first US secretary of state to visit the country since 1955.
She spoke to a cluster bomb victim and promised more help.