BLACKSBURG, Va.—She was burned over 30 percent of her body when she fell into a fire as a child.
But on Wednesday, a Haitian teenager underwent a six hour surgery at Lewis Gale Hospital at Montgomery that will change her life.
It was a lengthy and delicate procedure.
There were four doctors and four nurses working on her in the operating room.
Afterwards, Kethia Sierna's right arm was separated from her torso.
It hasn't been free in a decade.
"After getting the soft tissue release. The shoulder came up very nicely and we have it at about 90 degree plus," explained Dr. Brian Torre, an orthopedic surgeon.
The team of surgeons and nurses spent most of the day inside the operating room, working on Kethia.
They met her for the first time last week after Blacksburg missionaries helped set up this free treatment.
Their challenge: releasing scar tissue that would allow her use of her right arm.
"I think everybody is cautious. It's a case we don't do everyday. We're optimistic and excited at the same time a little bit anxious because it's a new and different case for us," said Dr. Philip Grubbs, a plastic surgeon.
Doctors say because she's grown so much with her elbow in that position, the nerves and vessels didn't have a chance to stretch out.
So, doctors connected a device to the bone.
"It has a mechanism by which we can gradually crank it open, basically, a degree or two a day and that may allow the ligaments to gradually stretch the nerves." Dr. Torre said.
Her elbow still doesn't have the range of motion doctors had hoped for, but they expect it will improve with time.
"When you think about reaching, getting to her hair, feeding herself. A lot of little things in life that may be improved by doing that. So, we're very optimistic on that," Dr. Torre added.
Kethia will be in the hospital for 2 to 3 days.
She'll have more doctors visits then aggressive physical therapy.
She's also aware that this will be uncomfortable, at times, painful.
Doctors said she has wonderful attitude.
She's not afraid of anything and wants to charge ahead.
They said with that kind of attitude, they expect her to do well.