PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A lawyer pushed to have charges dropped against a woman who overdosed while she was pregnant and had to have an emergency C-section, but Tuesday, a judge decided there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.
Thirty-year-old Kasey Dischman covered her face as she was escorted into the courtroom for a preliminary hearing. She is accused of overdosing on opiates while pregnant.
According to the criminal complaint, Dischman was found passed out on the bathroom floor of her East Butler apartment on June 23. Authorities say she had just been released from jail and was given a prescription for Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of overdoses. But she went into cardiac arrest at Butler Memorial Hospital and was flown by helicopter to UPMC Mercy.
“This case is a tragedy for everybody involved – the baby, Kasey Dischman, the family,” defense attorney Joseph Smith said, “but there is a limit to where the criminal law can go.”
The next day, Dischman was transferred to UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital where doctors performed a C-section to deliver a female baby. At the time, the baby was not in good health and was listed in critical condition on life support and is expected to have lasting injuries.
As a result, Dischman was charged with aggravated assault of her unborn child. Tuesday, her attorney asked the judge to drop the charge.
“Criminal liability is not imposed upon pregnant women regarding offenses for their unborn children, and, as I indicated to the court, this is a very slippery slope for all pregnant women,” Smith said. “There are drug-addicted babies born every day. If this charge applies, it may apply across the board.”
But the assistant D.A. argued that Dischman acted recklessly while she was pregnant.
The judge agreed and held her over for trial on aggravated assault of an unborn child.
Defense attorney Smith believes he may have a better chance arguing his case during the trial in common pleas court. Dischman remains jailed on $500,000 bond, and she has yet to see her child, who KDKA has been told is doing much better in the hospital.