Dr Michael Yung, who was killed at his home in Adelaide
The violent death of top pediatrician Michael Yung has caused shock and grief in South Australia. Image by HANDOUT/SOUTH AUSTRALIA POLICE
  • crime, law and justice

‘Devastated’: family of slain doctor shares their grief

Jacob Shteyman December 13, 2023

The family of a top pediatrician allegedly murdered in his own home have expressed their heartbreak in a moving tribute to the respected doctor.

Michael Yung, 61, died on Tuesday surrounded by friends and family at the Royal Adelaide Hospital after sustaining serious injuries to his head and spine in a violent break-in on Monday.

Dr Yung’s family expressed their profound gratitude to first responders and medical staff for the care they provided the father of two in his final hours.

“We are all absolutely devastated by Michael’s death,” they said in a statement. 

“He was a loving and loved father, son, brother, uncle and cousin. His death has left a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.”

Dr Yung was described as a “knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate” specialist, who devoted his life to the care of vulnerable children.

He established a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Kilifi, Kenya, and also worked in remote Indigenous communities.

“Michael was a wise and patient teacher and mentor to generations of aspiring ICU doctors,” his family said. 

“He was loved and respected by his colleagues, staff and students and all those who were privileged to know and work with him.”

Kerem Aydin, 22, and Jacinta Davila, 27, were arrested in Adelaide’s inner west following a high-level investigation by Major Crime detectives.

The pair, who have children, appeared at Adelaide Magistrates Court via video link on Wednesday charged with murder, aggravated serious criminal trespass and committing theft using force. 

Aydin, sporting a bandage over a bruised and swollen left eye, did not apply for bail, while Davila will return to court next Wednesday when Magistrate Michael Jandy will consider releasing her on home detention bail.

Detectives are not seeking any other suspects.

Police said there was no connection between the suspects and those being sought for a recent crime spree across Adelaide.

Tributes flowed for Dr Yung, who was head of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care medical unit.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” SA Premier Peter Malinauskas said on X, formerly Twitter. 

SA Health Minister Chris Picton said it was an incredibly sad day for the state’s health family.

“Dr Michael Yung has been there for so many South Australian children and families at their darkest times – now it is time for all of us to be there for him and his family,” he wrote on X.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network acting chief executive Rebecca Graham, in a note to staff, said Dr Yung would be greatly missed by the many families he had supported.

In lieu of flowers, she and Dr Yung’s family urged people to donate to the Kathryn Browne-Yung Scholarship fund he set up in his late wife’s honour.

“The foundation supports scholarships for Indigenous medical students,” his family said. 

“If people wish to remember Michael we invite them to contribute to this foundation.”