HOUSTON - Doctors said that injured East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tullier is "fully conscious" at a press conference on Thursday to discuss his recovery.
Dr. Sunil Kothari, the medical director of the disorders consciousness program of the hospital, said that Tullier is "doing remarkably well." Kothari explained that Tullier suffered from severe brain damage not just from a gunshot wound sustained in the ambush, but due to his heart stopping during "several periods."
However, despite the traumatic injuries, Tullier has improved greatly, the doctor said.
According to doctors, Tullier is able to see, hear, is aware of his surroundings, understands language, can identify those around him and can communicate in a nonverbal manner.
Kothari said that the challenge that Tullier now faces is his limited body functions.
Dr. Julie Welch, the hospital's rehabilitation manager, said that Tullier is in 3-4 hours of physical, occupational and speech therapy each day and has a "very active" day and schedule.
Welch said that Tullier is working on gaining control of his head and muscles. Additionally, he is working on improving his ability to communicate verbally and swallow.
The doctors said that Tullier uses a mechanical lift to get in and out of bed and his wheelchair and are working with a harness to get him to stand and bare more weight on his legs.
Kotahri said that Tullier still needs 24 hour care and has a lot of work to do.
"It is a marathon, not a sprint," he said.
However, Kothari said that Tullier's recovery has been "surprising" even to doctors and the expectations of his initial recovery were significantly underestimated to those who first treated him.
Tullier's father, James Tullier, said that his son's recovery has been a miracle.
"He has crossed so many hurdles," he said. " We had no hope...Look where he is at."
James Tullier said that his son is a fighter and that the staff and doctors have been "awesome" and he is grateful for all they have done and continue to do.
The press conference ended with James Tullier saying the family has received many messages and prayers and asks for them to continue.
"Keep the prayers coming, there are miracles here," he said.
Kothari said that Nick's time remaining at the hospital can be measured in months at this point, but did not give a specific amount.
WATCH the full press conference on Facebook here.
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