Haltom City police officer who worked with schools dies after long battle with COVID-19

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After weeks of fighting against COVID-19 complications, a Haltom City police officer died Wednesday.

Kris Hutchison, a four-year Marine Corps veteran, began his career in law enforcement in 2014 and served nearly five years in Haltom City, the department said in a Facebook post.

“He also served with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and the Kennedale Police Department,” the post continued. “Most recently, ‘Hutch’ as we know him, served as a school resource officer; he loved helping kids.”

A GoFundMe campaign, which began on Oct. 14 and was posted by his sister, Kristi Cotner, spent two weeks providing updates on the police officer’s condition through his wife, Amber. The first update said that Hutchison was brought to the ICU and was placed on a ventilator that was set to “100% maximum pressure.”

“The doctor has watched him closely and said that it took a lot of time to find the ‘sweet spot’ with the vent, but they found a setting that he’s currently tolerating which is 95%. They are juggling the sedatives and paralytics right now to keep him calm, apparently it’s a balance,” the Oct. 14 post read. “He’s still on all the regular medication they had him on before and they are about to give him a PEG tube which is basically a feeding tube. They say this is important because it stimulates his stomach and bowels to keep those functioning like normal. They said it’s just a waiting game now.”

The updates continued daily, with some posts hours apart, documenting his health before the family began asking for prayers.

“Amber just spoke to his nurse. His vent oxygenation is at 80% today,” the GoFundMe said on Oct. 15. “So he is doing exactly what we want him to do. He’s still on his stomach, still sedated and paralyzed, and he’s tolerating the nutrition well. The nurse said that he has age on his side.”

Hutchison’s wife wrote on Facebook that she had faith “our kids will have their daddy home again.”

“Everyone keeps asking me what I need, and I’m sorry I don’t have answers. The truth is that the only thing I need is laying in a hospital bed in the ICU,” Amber Hutchison wrote online. “My husband has literally given me everything I ever wanted, he’s my other half, he’s made my life perfect, and he is definitely the best father to ever exist. He would do anything for us.”

His wife continued, adding that Hutchison had been fighting against COVID-19 for three weeks, as of Oct. 20.

“And for 21 nights now I’ve fallen asleep without being able to hold him, and I can’t tell you how much that hurts... But I don’t care how many nights it takes, I know he will be beside me again,” she wrote. “He is strong. And for now I will try to be as strong as he is, and continue doing what needs to be done to keep our children happy and carefree until he returns.”

On Oct. 21, the GoFundMe said that Hutchison was maintaining his ventilator at 70%, and that his pulse oxygen was at 92%, “so if it drops they have to bump up the vent. But they’ve been going up and down for a few days now so I’m sure it’s all part of the process.”

The next day, the fundraising site updated that the officer’s condition took a turn for the worse, as his fever returned, his pulse oxygen increased to 94%, he was 100% on a ventilator, and his positive end-expiratory pressure, which usually applies 3 to 5 cm of water to “prevent decreases in functional residual capacity in normal lungs,” was at 12.

“The hospital informed me today that this will be my only chance to see him till he is off the vent...I spent about an hour with him, singing to him and talking. I even stole a kiss from his forehead,” his wife updated on Facebook. “His heart rate fluctuated when I was talking so I feel like he could hear me. I played some music for him too which also got a response from his heart rate. ... We need Kris back home with us so we can love on him again. I wish I could have spent all day beside him.”

His condition, again, improved for a few days, but on Oct. 25, the family said they needed help.

“I hate asking for more help but the truth is we need it. Kris is having a really hard time right now. His blood pressure and o2 won’t stay up, he needs to get on an ECMO machine and they don’t have one where he is at,” the fundraising update said. “We need to have him transferred and it’s a risk to do that but it’s a risk we need to take. It’s not looking good right now so we really really need this transfer.”

His condition, days before his death, fluctuated with improving vitals before they began to decline quickly. The last family update was Wednesday.

“There is no kinked line, he kept getting moved and his vitals kept dropping. I don’t know what his vitals are at the moment just that they aren’t what we need them to be,” the post read. “Please continue to pray everyone and thank you for all the prayers so far.”

The police department announced that Hutchison died later Wednesday. They’re asking residents to keep his family, and the police community, “in your thoughts as we all try to find comfort, hope, and peace in these trying times.”

“He leaves behind his wife, son and daughter, and many other family and friends,” the department said.

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