BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WHNT) - A Birmingham-area teenager, just 16, is learning to use a rare prosthetic hand - after her natural hand was crushed in an auto wreck.
Judie Cummings recently sat with her daughter Haley as the two showed off Haley's new device - one that has been fit with prosthetic fingers which will one day allow her to move as she did before the accident.
"I haven't really learned much about this device yet," Haley admitted to local media. "Hopefully I'll learn more soon. But I learn pretty easily so it shouldn't take that long."
The $95,000 technology is only being used by 15 people in the United States. For Haley to join the select group, she had to make a difficult decision - remove what was left of her original hand.
Judie Cummings explained how the process went, "Haley said, 'If [the remaining fingers] are not going to do anything, if they're not going to work, I don't want them.' They would have gotten in the way of this. We wouldn't have been nearly as successful with this if we just had those two fingers just sticking out there."
Haley is already using her new hand to shake with others and hold balls. Movement is mostly restricted to open and closing for now. In time though, each digit will have individualized motion - allowing Haley to return to the life of a normal teenager.
"It's going to feel a lot better because people have been staring at my hand a lot since the wreck," Haley admitted, "It will feel a lot better people not staring at me."
For more on the remarkable power of medical technology, watch Michelle Stark's report on WHNT News 19 at 6:30 p.m. Monday, December 3rd.