HOUSTON, TX (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Deputy Nick Tullier is recovering after undergoing a major surgery Wednesday morning.
Deputy Tullier was moved from the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehab Facility to a Houston hospital for the surgery that had been planned for several weeks.
The surgery, which began at 9:28 a.m., was to repair a fistula, or hole, and a blockage in the large intestine. About four hours later, around 1:30 p.m., the surgery ended with doctors successfully removing the blockage. Surgeons also found two holes in his intestines, one in the small intestine and another in the large intestine.
A colonoscopy performed a few weeks ago found a blockage in Tullier's large intestine that doctors say was caused by nerve damage. Doctors told the Tullier family either one of the three bullets damaged some nerves in the large intestine or it was damaged by one of the previous 14 intestinal surgeries Tullier underwent, but there's no way to know exactly what caused the damage. That nerve damage is what Tullier's father, James Tullier, says caused the blockage in about a quarter of an inch piece of the large intestine.
James added because Tullier has had 14 previous intestinal surgeries, doctors did rearrange some of his intestinal tract. He says they also found some scar tissue inside his body cavity. Doctors found some infection in the body cavity close to the exit wound and this is in relation to where the fistula was on the large intestine. The large intestine was leaking into the body cavity, which in turn was leaking into the exit wound, causing issues with the exit wound he sustained when he was shot on July 17, 2016.
Tullier says doctors are very pleased with the outcome of the surgery and say the exit wound should now start healing better. Now, Tullier says doctors believe the exit wound will close up within a few months. Tullier was shot below the rib cage with one of the bullets exiting through his lower back. That wound has been slow to heal due to problems with the exit wound.
Doctors also scraped out the exit wound, removed and cleaned out the infected area, and hooked a wound vac. James explains a wound vac is a vacuum system that very gently pulls out any kind of drainage and keeps infection from developing.
Tullier is expected to remain in recovery from five days to several weeks. There's no set time for when Tullier will be released from the hospital, but his physical therapy is expected to resume Thursday at the hospital where he had this latest surgery.
James says this was his son's 25th surgery since the deadly ambush attack on law enforcement.