Pattaya grandma who cut off own toes refuses social worker’s help

Grandma Noochan cries as she tells the social workers that she does not want to live at the homeless shelter for fear of losing her freedom and independence.

An elderly Pattaya woman who cut off her toes to relieve pain from diabetess told social workers she values her independence too much to go to a homeless shelter.

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A day after Noochan Malaikham, 73, was patched up but refused to visit doctors for her mangled toes, she met Mayuree Dumnernpol, director of the Chonburi Protection Center for the Destitute, at the abandoned Naklua house she squats in with two sons-in-law.

Chonburi social workers tried in vain to convince grandma Noochan to go live at the homeless shelter.

Mayuree told the Maha Sarakham native she didn’t have to suffer from the gangrene caused by her diabetes, nor depend on handouts of food and goodwill to pay her electricity and water bills.

But Noochan declined the offer to come live at the Chonburi homeless shelter. She told Mayuree that she feared she’d lose her freedom and independence if she was admitted to the shelter.

Noochan was warned that, while her choice not to go now was her decision, if she was arrested for begging, she would lose that option.

Mayuree said the center stands ready to assist Noochan if she changes her mind.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Bangkok Herald.

Related story: Diabetic, elderly beggar cuts down her toes on Pattaya street