Doctors say Officer Nick Wilt’s long-term prognosis is positive

UofL Health and Frazier Rehab experts say Officer Wilt's recovery looks to be extremely positive.
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A homecoming fit for a hero.

Friday, Officer Wilt was discharged from inpatient care after being shot in the head while responding to the April 10th Old National Bank mass shooting.

Wilt spent almost four months in the hospital at a rehab facility and now gets to go home after what doctors call a remarkable recovery.

According to doctors at UofL Health and Frazier Rehab, Officer Wilt’s journey to recovery seems very positive.

While there’s a chance he doesn’t become one hundred percent healthy, the doctors believe that with his determination to push forward, there is no limit to what he can achieve.

“In some way, it’s the end of the beginning of all of this,” UofL Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said.

Dr. Smith said Friday marks the end of the first phase of recovery for Officer Nick Wilt.

A journey his family said they’re prepared to ride together.

“The progress that Nick’s made, they tell us it’s a long road, it’s a marathon,” Nick’s twin brother Zach Wilt said. “But Nick, every single day, has been ready to go.”

Dr. Smith said when a high-velocity bullet connects with bone it shatters into smaller pieces, which can cause even more damage.

So knowing this type of damage happened to Wilt’s head and to see where he is today is a shocking testimony even the experts weren’t sure they’d see.

“So you know I will tip my hat off to Dr. Ding, our Neurosurgeon because I’ll be honest I was surprised they were able to get Officer Wilt off the table that first day after what I saw,” Dr. Smith shared. “The fact that they were able to do that and start this process was a miracle in it of itself.”

Miracle work achieved by a miraculous team.

“They literally saved his life,” Frazier Rehabilitation’s Medical Director Dr. Darryl Kaelin said. ”The city of Louisville should really be proud to have such an outstanding facility with outstanding physicians in this community.”

Since then, Wilt has used what his police chief calls a pit-bull mentality to tackle his recovery.

And with the backing of his family by blood and in blue, he’s been able to achieve incredible feats.

“Nick has spent his last several weeks, working hard to regain his consciousness, his ability to speak, to swallow, to take care of himself, to stand, and yes, even to start walking,” explained Dr. Kaelin.

Dr. Kaelin with Frazier Rehab says Wilt may never reach one hundred percent and there may be some long-term deficits, but if he continues on the path that he’s on, Dr. Kaelin believes the sky is the limit for his recovery.

“Yes, there remains work in weeks and months ahead, but I have no doubt that Officer Nick Wilt will continue to make great strides,” Dr. Kaelin said.

That journey continues next week as Officer Wilt will begin his extensive 5-day-a-week outpatient program to add to his miraculous recovery.