The Dorsainvil Foundation--A Family Legacy
In 1995, Pierre and Josephine Dorsainvil left their home in Long Island, New York to visit their native country of Haiti. Pierre Dorsainvil, 69, and his wife, Josephine, 62, had just finished building a vacation home in the small town of Arcahaie, Haiti, where both were born, raised, met and were married. During their visit four armed individuals entered and ransacked Pierre and Josephine Dorsainvil’s home in Arcahaie, Haiti. The New York residents, who were in their homeland for a brief vacation, were shot and killed. Their five children survived them, a son and four daughters.
The Dorsainvil family had become an American success. The oldest son, Pierre had just graduated from medical school, St. George’s University. His younger sisters Edwige and Bobbie were also successful in business and had families of their own. The youngest girls, twins, Cynthia and Dolores, were both attending college and were looking ahead to a bright future.
On the morning of June 30, 1995, exactly one week after Pierre graduated from medical school, everything would change. Although the details have never been clear the local authorities state their house was attacked by a gang of brutal thieves. With robbery as a motive they mercilessly shot Josephine, killing her instantly. Pierre Sr. suffered a gunshot wound to his leg while the couple’s maid, seventeen year old Elemene was wounded four times. The violence was swift and horrible, especially since the vacationers were unarmed.
Pierre, the son, had to break the devastating news to his sisters. Numb with grief, they also had to endure the fact that the killers had escaped exact identification. Although police had an idea of who the suspects were, no one would ever be brought to justice. As a newly credentialed physician, Pierre was aware of an additional irony. Had his father been in virtually any US hospital his non-lethal gunshot wound could have been treated and he would have been saved. The reality was that for lack of a few dollars worth of a sterile saline IV solution, mostly unavailable in this third world nation, his father simply bled to death.
In June 2000, while on a visit to Haiti and his parents’ home, Dr. Pierre Dorsainvil had a revelation. He would convert this vacation retreat to a different kind of haven. It would be a freestanding clinic. Now, he just had to make it happen. In June 2001, he established the Dorsainvil Foundation, a private, non-profit organization and opened a free medical clinic for the poor and needy in the Arcahaie home his parents loved. The name of the center, which is the only one of its kind within a 35-mile radius, is Complexe Medical Sainte Philomene De L’Arcahaie. Currently, Pierre makes several trips a year to administer health care at the facility himself while the remainder of the year he relies on a limited staff who see patients twice a week.
The Dorsainvil Foundation stands as a testament to the good that can come from difficult times. Dr. Pierre Dorsainvil, along with friends, family, pharmaceutical reps, and health care providers have been able to have a significant impact on the people of Haiti. The Foundation hopes to continue this work for years to come.