I have two dwarves that were gathering plants when a buzzard came by and interrupted both of them, in two different locations. As soon as this happened, they appeared to become thirsty and would no longer do any jobs or move from their spots. Eventually they got hungry while I tried to figure out and understand what was wrong with them, so they're now both hungry and thirsty, but not starving or dehydrated yet.

I can't figure out how to solve this. I selected my dwarf that has all the medical skills (including diagnose), and made sure those labors were enabled. I then disabled literally every other labor for him...every last one.

I assume that they must be diagnosed before someone can bring out food/water/alcohol to them, otherwise it would of already happened (because every single dwarf already has the recover wounded/feed patient labors enabled.

I went to the health status screen, accessed from the (u)nits page, I believe. I tried hitting D for diagnose (I don't know if that's how its supposed to work; that's what the screen seemed to indicate), but it doesn't do anything.

I've attempted to figure out how to diagnose them, but I have had no luck. Can anybody explain what I need to do?

  • Do you have anyone (Specifically the diagnoser) asssigned as the Chief Medical Dwarf on the Nobles screen?
    – Angzuril
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


I suspect you are having a pathing problem where your hungry/thirsty dwarves are unable to get to that part of your fort that has food and booze.

Water is only drunk by injured dwarves; they normally prefer to drink booze. Diagnosing and other medical labors are only needed on injured dwarves. Dwarves that are hungry or thirsty are not injured (at least to start with), so medical labors don't apply unless they are very far gone.


If your dwarves are injured or otherwise unable to move, and if your other dwarves have access to a bucket and a water source, can path to the thirsty dwarf, and have the "feed patient/prisoners labor turned on, they should bring water to them. If you have designated a hospital zone, your other dwarves have the recover wounded labor turned on, and they can path to your injured dwarf and to the hospital, they should haul the injured dwarf to the hospital.

Designating a water supply zone at a pond or river or if you have built a well (which is automatically considered a water supply location), your dwarves should use that if they have a bucket and need to water an animal or an injured dwarf.

More specifics about taking care of injured dwarves.

Pathing problem

You can test whether the dwarves can path to food or drink. Try to assign one of your other dwarves to chop a tree down or some other job near your stuck dwarves, like setting a pasture, assigning an animal to it, and have the dwarf lead it there. If that dwarf can reach the tree or pasture, there is a clear path to the inside of your fort. If the dwarf just stands around, the game may be unable to find a path there.

I had a bugged game like this where I could see no problem pathing between inside and outside my fort but DF was unable to find a path in that game. It may have been related to the reclaim of an abandoned fort.

  • If it is a pathing problem, why did this not happen until now? This isnt the first time Ive sent dwarves out to gather plants. Neither of them are very far from both a brook and the fortress containing all my alcohol/food. If these dwarves aren't considered injured right now, then the hospital stuff and medical stuff is not relevant, right? So how do I fix this? I created some buckets but nobody is immediately helping them out. Why are these medical things such a low priority? I cant seem to cancel any jobs, like gathering more plants, which doesnt help. Thanks for your help & the funny sig :)
    – KocLobster
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 15:26
  • @KocLobster: I just read on the hospital page on the DF wiki [dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/DF2014:Health_care] that the give food, provide water, and recover patient jobs are very low priority. It says that it's a good idea to dedicate specific nurses that have all jobs turned off except these jobs so that a dwarf actually does them. Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 9:35
  • In the latest versions, the "diagnosis" skill only affectes the SPEED of the diagnosis, rather than it's QUALITY (since there's no way to train it other than injuring dwarves on a daily basis. Once some way to train medical staff has been implemented, I suspect that this will become a quality-related skill again). In the meanwhile, I assign ALL of my dwarves the diagnosis task. (as well as the "recover wounded" task and the "give food and water" task). Makes things happen much more quikckly. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 14:24
  • If you have two stranded dwarves that may be injured, you can set them to diagnosing each other until other dwarves to arrive to help. Not sure if it is possible to diagnose a non injured dwarf, but a bug [bay12games.com/dwarves/mantisbt/view.php?id=94] was reported that may require re-injuring an already injured dwarf to get someone to diagnose him. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 6:19

A possible cause may be:


These may be your problem. Dwarves can use them to get fruit from trees, but sometimes cannot use them while injured, other dwarves can take them, and they may get stuck for various other reasons too. See the comments on this bug report.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .