by Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News Editor
A History of Civil Rights Abuse in Arizona?
Health Impact News originally reported the story concerning the two sisters in Arizona who were taken away from their mother over medical disputes: 10 and 12 Year Old Sisters Seized from Family by Hospital in Phoenix .
When we broke this story, the mother, Melissa Diegel, had just been ordered by the court to take down her blog, Facebook Page, and other social media sites where she told the story of her daughters’ medical conditions, and how the State of Arizona stepped in and took custody away from her because she allegedly questioned the doctors’ treatment. Melissa believed her daughters were getting worse, and not better, and wanted to seek a second opinion. She also believes that her daughters are part of a drug trial program, without her consent.
Seeking to obey the court order with the hopes that she could regain custody of her children, she took down all of her information from the Internet. However, an advocacy group which had been following her case put up a different Facebook Page containing much of the information surrounding the family’s case. Health Impact News republished information from this Facebook Page, and several other media sources did as well.
As the Diegel family story gained national exposure, the family court judge in this case apparently threatened Melissa Diegel. We had never spoken or corresponded directly with Melissa Diegel, but she sent us this email message on October 3, 2014:
The court has ordered that I contact you and ask you to to remove information regarding my daughters case.
Sincerely, Melissa Diegel
Health Impact News did not comply with this request, and neither did several other media sources practicing their Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Soon after this, many other parents and advocates from Arizona began to contact us at Health Impact News with very similar stories, and MedicalKidnap.com was born. What parents and former foster care victims told us painted a picture of a very corrupt system operating in the State of Arizona. We published a follow-up article: A History of Medical Kidnapping at Phoenix Children’s Hospital .
But since the publication of that story in October, we have published many many more stories and articles about the system in Arizona that takes children away from families and puts them into foster care at a rate higher than any other state in the United States.
Mother Threatened with Arrest in Arizona for Speaking Out
In the meantime, it appears that Melissa Diegel has lost hope that the court will return custody of her two daughters, whom she claims are being mistreated in the hands of the State, and has defied her gag order. A blog has been put up  documenting the alleged abuses of the Arizona medical abduction system. The “A Miracle For Two Sisters ” Facebook Page also remains active with current updates.
In a recent blog post , Melissa Diegel reports how a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) tried to intervene and explain to the court how the two sisters were not faring well in foster care, and would perhaps be better off under their mother’s care. But when the caseworker and court refused to listen to her, she resigned as advocate, after spending more than 130 hours on the case. An affidavit submitted to the court by the CASA worker Ms. Shipp states:
Ms. Shipp indicated that although this was a difficult decision for her, she resigned when concerns she had been raising had been rejected or ignored, and the case environment had grown increasingly hostile as a result of her advocacy on behalf of the children.
Some of Ms. Shipp’s concerns, while functioning as an advocate for the children while in foster care, were:
- concerns about Kayla’s weight loss
- delay in restarting Kayla on her feeding tube
- treatment of Kayla and Hannah by foster care
- bruising on forearms, shoulder and legs of Kayla
- the girls had not bonded with their foster mother, as she “lacked compassion.”
The affidavit has been released to the public and copies are currently published in various places on Melissa Diegel’s blog , and the “A Miracle For Two Sisters ” Facebook Page. You can also view it here .
Since releasing this information, Melissa Diegel has posted on her blog  that there is a court order for her arrest for breaking the gag order:
As we have reported previously, these gag orders issued by family court judges against parents have been called unconstitutional by many attorneys in the United States: Family Court Judges’ Unconstitutional Gag Orders On Parents .
We still do not have direct contact with Melissa Diegel, and all the information provided in this story comes directly from her blog , or the advocacy Facebook Page . Melissa has also published a video explaining her case:
Legal Help Needed for Arizona Medical Kidnapping Cases!
We know from talking to many other families in similar circumstances as the Diegels, that it is very difficult to find attorneys who are not appointed by the court, and are willing to fight the system to help these parents get their children back. There are many other families in Arizona currently who would like to go public, but are fearful, because they cannot afford good legal representation to protect them if they go public. Melissa Diegel has taken a bold step.
Please contact us  here at MedicalKidnap.com if you can help these families in Arizona.
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