Security guard named Hospital Hero for going above-and-beyond for a patient in need

Not all Hospital Heroes wear white coats. The newest inductee into the MUHC Foundation’s Hospital Hero program is an MUHC security guard employed by GardaWorld.

Michel Despins was doing his rounds at the MUHC when he came across two women in distress outside the Emergency Department. He immediately sprang into action, approaching the women to see how he could help.

It was late at night on Halloween, and Vivian Yanocko had just accompanied her goddaughter to the emergency room for abdominal pain. She was well cared for by the Emergency Department’s staff, and had just left with a prescription to ease her pain.

“We could not have been happier with how she was cared for at the MUHC. The staff were wonderful,” says Vivian.

As soon as the two women stepped outside, however, Vivian’s goddaughter doubled over in pain. That was when Michel spotted her.

“In the ER, the staff are so busy and they can’t see to everything. If I can help in any way, I do,” says Michel.

When he learned what was wrong, Michel rushed into the ER to find a nurse, who came out to see the patient. Vivian’s goddaughter was given medication to help her get through the night until she could fill her prescription at a pharmacy the next day.

A kind soul, Michel brought the woman water to take her pills and a sandwich in case she was hungry.

“He showed so much humanity and empathy,” says Vivian.

Vivian couldn’t let Michel’s kindness go unrecognized. To show her gratitude, she nominated him as an MUHC Foundation Hospital Hero, making a donation in his honour to support patient care in the process.

“I can’t thank him enough for making us feel seen in a difficult moment. I hope our story inspires others to nominate their Hospital Hero,” says Vivian.

The MUHC Foundation’s Hospital Hero program allows patients and their families to honour the staff, physicians, volunteers—and security guards—who have changed their lives for the better. As part of the program, Michel received a Hospital Hero pin to recognize the way he went above and beyond the call of duty.

“It makes me proud to wear this pin,” says Michel.

Vivian was present to see Michel receive his pin and show her gratitude for everything he did for her and her goddaughter that Halloween night.

“I saw the pride in his face when he received the pin, and that made me so happy,” says Vivian.

Michel’s story is proof that anyone can make a difference. Whether you’re performing lifesaving surgery or keeping the MUHC safe and secure, kindness and humanity are the keys to having a positive impact on others. For Michel, there’s no other way this story could have gone.

“It’s who I am. If I see someone hurting, I want to help,” he says.

Thanks to his quick actions and big heart, Michel will forever be a hero to Vivian and her goddaughter.

If you feel someone made a meaningful difference during your time at the MUHC, express your gratitude by making a donation in their honour to the MUHC Foundation’s Hospital Hero program. Your gift supports care at the hospital and inspires our hospital heroes to continue to provide compassionate and personalized care. Nominate your hero today at

The MUHC Foundation welcomes the Montreal Alouettes to the MUHC