How to Build and Use Hospitals in Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress artwork
Image via Bay 12 Games

When you get sick or injured, you go to a hospital, so why would it be any different for your dwarves in Dwarf Fortress? Why your settlement should have a designated hospital zone is rather self-explanatory—dwarves get hurt and need medical care.

If you want to provide your dwarves with healthcare, you should learn how to build and properly use a hospital in Dwarf Fortress as soon as possible!

How to Build a Hospital in Dwarf Fortress

You can select the area you want to turn into a hospital by hitting the I key but make sure that you’re choosing enough space for the healthcare needs of your settlement. Go for a clean, well-organized layout and try to choose the zone close to other required resources, such as water and food.

When the hospital area is all smoothed out, you need to equip it with the necessary furniture. You should include:

  • Tables (at least one, since the same one can be used for operating on several dwarves simultaneously)
  • Beds (we recommend at least ten)
  • Storage chests for medicinal supplies (anywhere from two to eight, depending on the size of the settlement)
  • Traction belts (as opposed to tables, traction belts can serve only one dwarf at a time)

Once you’re done furnishing your new hospital, it’s time to designate it as such officially. Select the area as the meeting zone first and then click on the small shield with a plus sign and click on New Hospital.

You will see that your new area is successfully marked as a hospital if it has a small icon of a snake coiled around a stick—the traditional medical symbol.

How to Use a Hospital in Dwarf Fortress

So far, you have built a fully-equipped hospital, but no one can use it still. To proceed, you should assign a chief medical dwarf by hitting N to bring up the Nobles screen and select the dwarf you deem most appropriate for this position in the relevant field. You can also appoint other doctors, diagnosticians, surgeons, or bone doctors in the hospital menu. They are not obligatory, but it is useful to have them.

Once you sort out your medical staff, you should handle the supplies (also in the hospital menu). You don’t need to cover all the list items presented, but make sure that your hospital has enough of:

  • Thread
  • Cloth
  • Splints
  • Crutches
  • Buckets

To avoid issues with supplies, you can automate the production of medical items by issuing work orders.

At this point, you should have a fully functional hospital, ready for its first patients. As they get treated for different health problems, you can explore our other Dwarf Fortress guides, including How to Appoint and Use a Priest in Dwarf Fortress or How to Get and Use Flux Stones in Dwarf Fortress.

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How to Build and Use Hospitals in Dwarf Fortress


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