Knowledge is Power



This is a true story. Some of the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.



My dad, Julio Ortiz, always a jock: High school football hero. College football hero. WWII B-24 navigator who survived a crash landing in Wales with nothing worse than a broken back—and the loss of half his crew. But he never complained. After the war, he married, had four children, lovingly coached them in sports, and supported his family as a lawyer in Albuquerque for many years. He was my hero, my uncomplaining hero.


That’s why I knew something was terribly wrong when he started complaining of headaches about thirteen years ago, when he was 80 years old. As his daughter and naturopathic doctor, I suspected either a stroke, or possibly a brain tumor. I knew he needed an MRI, and knew he needed a prescription from a neurologist to get one.


We went to see Dr. Reedlips, a man we’d never met before but who came highly recommended. A very gentle and kind man, Dr. Reedlips was also hearing impaired and wore hearing aids in both ears. He took down all the necessary information, asked some very good questions to help him arrive at a diagnosis, and did, indeed, prescribe an MRI.


Just before we left his office, my dad, who is very sociable and loves to be cute, said to the doctor, “I do what she says,” pointing at me, “because she’s not only my daughter, but she’s my main doctor, too.” Dr. Reedlips then shook Dad’s hand, wished him the best of luck, wishing him a speedy recovery. We never saw him again.

Dad had the MRI the next day. We had to wait a day for the results. Dad had another bad headache that night. We were all so scared.

We finally got a call from Dr. Reedlips, who said the results appeared confusing and we’d better seek the advice of a neurosurgeon. He recommended a couple of doctors; we called Dr. Napoleon Kahmpleks, a staff physician at the hospital my dad preferred. Dr. Kahmpleks had the lab results sent over to him for analysis, telling us he’d get back to us in a few hours.

While waiting, my parents and sister went out to dinner and I went home to feed my rescued, special-needs dogs and say ‘hi’ to my husband.

Now it gets interesting. Here’s exactly what happened that night.

My phone rang. The voice at the other end said, “I need to speak with Dr. Bera immediately. This is Dr. Kahmpleks, and it’s urgent.”

“This is Dr. Bera,” I said, and took a deep breath, frightened out of my mind.

“Where is Mr. Ortiz?” he growled.

“How would I know? I believe he said he was going to dinner with his family, but I’m not sure. Why?”

“Because this case is critical!” he yelled. “I’m not sure what these results say, either a stroke or a tumor, but we have to run further tests immediately to find out exactly what’s going on!”

Okay, but … why was he calling me? How did he even get my number? And why was he yelling at me?

I pushed that aside for the moment. This was my father he was talking about, so I was pretty freaked out because I knew the kinds of horrific tests and treatments that would be offered. I immediately started planning to treat it as if it was the worst possible scenario, and go from there. That way, we would do everything in our power naturally to help my dad heal without defaulting to invasive measures.

My mind was racing; I knew I had to get calm and take control immediately or all our choices would be taken away. However, I was still a bit confused about why this doctor was talking so fast and furiously and yelling at me. Why would you yell at a patient’s daughter?

So I asked: “Why are you yelling at me?”

“I’m just concerned about our f—ing liability as the doctors on this case, you idiot!”

Ah ha!

Dad had told Dr. Reedlips that I was his main doctor. He never said “naturopathic doctor,” so Reedlips assumed I was Dad’s primary-care physician and listed me as such on the report that he sent along with the MRI information to Dr. Kahmpleks.

Dr. Reedlips was trying to be helpful. Dr. Kahmpleks just wanted to cover his own butt.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kahmpleks continued his rampage. He ended with: “You’d better find Mr. Ortiz and get him over to Hoag Hospital ER entrance immediately, where I’ll meet all of you there in half an hour.”

And he hung up.

Astounded, I called my sister’s cell and asked her to go outside the restaurant so we could talk without our folks hearing or panicking over her facial reactions. Since the restaurant was only a few minutes from the hospital and I had a half-hour drive to get there, I told her to finish dinner and then meet us at the ER entrance. “Do not go in without me!” I commanded.

When we all met outside the hospital, I told my family my suspicions about Dr. Kahmpleks thinking I was just Dad’s doctor, so no one should let on that I was a family member. No point giving up the inside track!

We all went inside, where we met with Kahmpleks in a private consultation room. He had Dad’s file in hand.

“I’m admitting Mr. Ortiz to the hospital immediately. It looks like he might have a slow bleed into the brain from a stroke, but more likely what we’re seeing on the MRI is a tumor of the cerebellum. We’re going to drill into it, which will relieve the pressure and pain.”


“Right now. Tonight.”

“How can you possibly drill into his brain without further proof that it is indeed a tumor rather than a stroke?”

Dr. Kahmpleks didn’t like that question. He gave me a very haughty look and asked, “Are you a trained neurosurgeon with years of experience in this field like I am? I think not.”

“What about a second opinion?!”

“I am the best neurosurgeon in Orange County. We’re already wasting precious time. He’s a walking time bomb. He could easily die tonight if we don’t take care of this immediately.”

At that very moment a nurse walked into the room with a gurney. “Mr. Ortiz, are you ready to take the bed?”

What a well-oiled machine they had going. The speed with which they moved was beyond comprehension. Get ‘em in, scare ‘em to death, and you’ve got ‘em! They’ll sign their lives away because someone in a white coat tells them they “have to do it” and “there’s really no choice.”

Fortunately, my dad was the one who put me through school, and he had agreed during our short discussion outside the ER that he was to make no choices without a family discussion first.

I stood up. “The family needs some time to talk. Alone.”

He again tried scaring us to death so we’d just go along with him, no questions asked, but silly us, we were stubborn. I repeated that the family wanted some time alone.

“Fine, they can have five minutes, but no more. My time is too important to waste on families that don’t know what they’re doing or talking about.” He motioned me to leave with him so the family could talk alone.

“I don’t think you understand, Dr. Kahmpleks. I’m not only Mr. Ortiz’s doctor, I am also his daughter.”

Instant paleface as he suddenly realized all the things he had said to me on the phone, and how he’d leaked the truth about his real motivations.

We all agreed, in those five minutes, that Dad was going home with us that night. He wasn’t going to “take the bed” and be wheeled away by the nurse.

The neurosurgeon had composed himself by the time he returned, but he continued to insist that this was urgent and no more time could be wasted if Dad wanted to wake up alive the next day.

“I am going home to sleep with my wife. Tomorrow you can do an MRI with contrast dye, since they didn’t use the dye the first time around. But whatever is going on, I won’t be having surgery. I’ll follow whatever program my daughter gives me so I can heal.”

“You’re a fool, sir. If you leave this hospital tonight, you’ll probably be dead by tomorrow morning.”

We all left the hospital. Dad slept with Mom and had another MRI the next morning. Still alive.

The MRI with contrast dye still didn’t give us an absolute picture. Nevertheless, we knew something was going on that had to be addressed immediately, so I put him on my strictest program for the worst-possible case scenario.

I went in with the assumption it might be a mass in the brain. This is extremely difficult to treat because you have to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach it. But I knew which herbs could accomplish that task, and included them in my program. At the same time, I also treated him as though it had been a stroke, using a lot of cayenne and other herbs that would help strengthen his cardiovascular system.

We took stress off his body by making sure his diet, which included too much salt, was now highly nutritious and salt-free. He did breathing exercises, walked a certain distance every day, and took daily circulation-stimulating showers to increase blood flow and decrease sticky blood platelets. He hated taking the cayenne, but he still takes it daily.

To save face, I guess, Kahmpleks felt compelled to call me again. He spent that conversation berating me over and over. “You’ll have to live with the consequences of not listening to me!”

I told him I had sent over all the lab work and reports to specialists at UCLA with whom I was associated. After their review, they mutually concluded that, had my Dad gone into the hospital that night and allowed a drill to penetrate his brain, he would most likely have died on the operating table. They were astounded, I told Kahmpleks, at what he had recommended. “We’re all thrilled you were proactive and didn’t allow this knife-happy surgeon to get his hands on your father.”

Daddy will be 98 years young this year.

Doctors are not gods. Many are wonderful, and have the best intentions, but western doctors are schooled mostly in the use of drugs and surgery, although some patients today are demanding more holistic treatment from their doctors.

Knowledge is Power. We have to apply that knowledge so we can remain calm and in control during any crisis, because no one has the right to take away our health choices.

No one.

About the Author

It wasn’t as if I wanted to become a naturopathic doctor. I had always been a musician, and that’s all I ever wanted to be. But I didn’t have a choice when I became ill with pneumonia 33 years ago and nearly died from it – simple misdiagnosis. Either I had to learn how to take care of myself or die at the hands of medical personnel who really didn’t give a hoot about me.

I was fortunate. I was young and had an opportunity to turn something around before it was too late. I learned that I have a choice.

So do you. We all do, we all have a choice. Empower yourself with knowledge now. Don’t wait until you’re sitting in an emergency room with some doctor trying to frighten you into doing what he says to cover his own butt ….. oops, I mean, liability!



Dr. Bera “The Wellness Whisperer” Dordoni, N.D.

Specializing in immune system rehabilitation, restoration, and maintenance through nutritional counseling, life-style coaching, and the laws of attraction. To purchase I Have a Choice?!, schedule a private consultation, or learn more about her next workshop, wellness retreat, or natural-health class, visit or call 505-783-9001.