A child is defined as “medically fragile” when, due to abuse or neglect, illness, congenital disorder or brain injury, he/she requires medications, treatments and/or specialized care or equipment.

Some conditions that may qualify a child as medically fragile are:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Chronic conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, Down syndrome or post organ transplant care
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Prematurity
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Epilepsy
  • Failure to thrive

Common treatments and procedures that a medically fragile child may require are:

  • A feeding tube placed in the nose, stomach or small intestine to deliver nutrients.
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Oxygen support or ventilator
  • Urinary catherization
  • Cardiorespiratory monitoring


Reviewed by Melissa Hendrickson, RN and Director of Health Services at Penfield Children’s Center.


The Medically Fragile Child. <medicallyfragilechild.com>

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