Doctors Said This Sheriff Would Never Recover After He Was Shot in the Head, His Family Thought Differently

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 19, 2016   |   4:51PM   |   Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The family of a sheriff’s deputy who was injured in a deadly shooting this July in Baton Rouge says his life is a Christmas miracle.

WAFB News reports Nick Tullier was shot three times in the head, abdomen and shoulder during the shooting rampage in July. In total, six officers were injured or killed in the attack; Tullier, a sheriff’s deputy for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Department, was one of the officers who survived.

During a news conference last week at the Houston, Texas rehab facility where he receives care, Tullier’s doctors and family said he is progressing surprisingly well. The shooting caused severe brain damage and other injuries, but Nick is fighting to overcome them, his family said.

“Look at what’s been in Nick’s past. We had no hope,” James Tullier, Nick’s father, told reporters, according to The Advocate. “Nick wasn’t supposed to survive one day, two days, five days, two weeks.

“Nick’s got a real long way to go. We know that, we understand that, but Nick’s a fighter,” he continued.

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Dr. Sunil Kothari, medical director of the Disorders of Conscience Program at the rehab center, said Nick was minimally conscious when he first arrived in Houston. Kothari said they initially thought Nick would be in a “vegetative state” but he quickly showed signs of improvement.

Now, doctors said, the 41-year-old deputy is fully conscious and doing “remarkably well,” WGNO reports.

WAFB reports more about Tullier’s condition:

Tullier was transferred to TIRR [Memorial Hermann research facility] in Houston, Texas on November 16 to begin specialized rehab therapy in the Disorders of Consciousness Program.

Doctors there said Thursday that Tullier is able to respond to “yes” or “no” questions by moving his head. They added that he knows where he is and recognizes family members and friends.

Tullier still has paralysis to parts of his body but is able to move his head, left arms and has some movement in his legs, doctors said.

Doctors said he is “doing remarkably well” and exceeding their expectations.

A video posted by WAFB on Dec. 15 also showed Nick strumming on a guitar as part of his therapy. Doctors said Nick still has a long way to go and probably will spend several more months in rehab, but he is showing determination.

James Tullier described his son’s recovery as a “miracle” and attributed it to the power of prayer. Every day, he posts updates on Facebook about his son’s condition, and asks for continued prayers.

“Christmas has come early,” he told reporters.