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Doctoring is a type of work performed by colonists assigned as a doctor on the Work menu. The Medicine skill is required and is the primary factor of their success. Colonists incapable of Caring cannot perform doctor tasks.

Doctoring includes treating injuries, treating diseases, performing surgical operations, and taking care of patients (entertaining and feeding). How well a colonist performs in doctoring mainly depends on their medicine skill and medicine used, but their physical well-being plays an important role too: A healthy colonist with a lower medicine skill will perform better at doctoring than a colonist with a missing arm or eye and a higher medicine skill. Similarly, a doctor on consciousness-reducing drugs won't perform as well as a sober doctor. The speed at which a doctor performs medical operations is shown by the Medical Operation Speed stat.

Doctors can heal other colonists, guests, prisoners or animals and will prioritize more life-threatening wounds and illnesses over minor ones.
They can treat themselves at 70% effectiveness. Disabled by default, the self-tend option can be enabled on Health | Overview.


The Medicine skill is the center skill of doctoring in Rimworld. It directly multiplies the treatment quality, as well as the surgery success chance and healing speed, before other factors are taken in. All values in this table take post-processing into account where necessary.

Doctor Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Base Treatment Quality 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 105% 110% 115% 120% 125% 130% 135% 140% 145% 150% 152.5% 155%
Base Healing Speed 40% 46% 52% 58% 64% 70% 76% 82% 88% 94% 100% 106% 112% 118% 124% 130% 136% 142% 148% 152% 160%
Base Surgery Success Chance 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 85% 90% 92% 93% 94% 95% 95.5% 96% 96.5% 97% 97.5% 98% 98.5% 99%

The following table documents a few of many possible combinations of how factors play into a colonist's performance at doctoring (needs updating for A17):

Colonist Medicine Skill Base Treatment Quality Manipulation [1] Sight [2] Final Treatment Quality [3]
A [4] 6 80% 100% 100% 80%
B [5] 18 200% 60% 30% 62.72%
C [6] 3 50% 190% 140% 89.6%
D [7] 11 130% 50% 100% 71.5%
  1. 90% importance in treatment quality, effective up to 140%
  2. 70% importance in treatment quality, effective up to 140%
  3. To 2 decimal places
  4. Healthy, practitioner in medicine
  5. Bad back, frail, and cataracts, visionary in medicine
  6. Fully bionic trauma savant, basic familiarity with medicine
  7. Missing an arm, strong expert with medicine


Medicine is typically used to improve the results of doctoring, and therefore improve recovery from injuries and disease, as well as allowing the performing of surgery. Another perk to using medicine is that medicine is typically able to heal multiple injuries (depending on severity), which is something that 'dry-bandaging' can't do.

There are currently three types of medicine in RimWorld: the organic herbal medicine, the bog standard medicine, and the coveted glitterworld medicine - in order from least potent to most potent.

In Alpha 17 it is possible to change the default healthcare given to pawns. Defaults to best meds for colonists and herbal meds for everybody else.

Treatment Options

Five treatment options are available; none at all, doctor care, herbal medicine or worse, regular medicine or worse, or best quality medical care.

For prisoners and guests the default is herbal medicine; colonists default to best care available.

In the early game, however, it's recommendable to set the medical policy so that all pawns only get basic doctor treatment, and then do the same for each pawn on your map. This way, you can save precious medicine for emergencies (e.g. disease, rapid bleeding), while not wasting it on minor injuries.

No medical care

Somewhat straightforward, this option prevents pawns from receiving any sort of medical care. This will leave them to succumb to their wounds, or die of diseases without anyone to treat them.

As doctor care does not require any medicine, this option is not recommended unless your intent is to let the pawn die.

Doctor care

Sometimes when supplies are short, or you need to save your stocks of medicine for better purposes, doctors will attempt to improvise a treatment. Note that it is not possible to do surgeries without medicine, and treatment is much slower than with any form of medicine, especially being unable to treat multiple wounds in a single treatment.

Attributes Medical Potency Market Value Mass (kg)
Values 30% N/A N/A

Treatment Quality

Doctor Level 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 20
Base Avg. Quality 6% 15% 24% 31.5% 36% 40.5% 45% 46.5%
Base Surgery Success - - - - - - - -

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine.png
Herbal medicine is an organic medicine which can be grown from healroot , or purchased from tribal traders. It is not very powerful, and its best application is in treating injuries, the flu, and chronic diseases - but it can be good at treating more severe diseases in the hands of a skilled and/or enhanced doctor. Although it's not recommended to use herbal medicine for surgery, you might just about be able to get away with it if your surgeon is fully bionic and of a very good skill level (at least level 12), but don't expect any miracles.

Attributes Medical Potency Market Value Mass (kg)
Values 60% 12 0.35

Treatment Quality

Doctor Level 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 20
Base Avg. Quality 12% 30% 48% 63% 72% 81% 90% 93%
Base Surgery Success 12% 30% 48% 55.2% 57% 57.9% 58.8% 59.4%


Standard medicine is the benchmark of medical treatment solutions, and is also producible at a drug lab by combining herbal medicine, neutroamine, and cloth. It can additionally be purchased from outlanders and orbital traders, or occasionally dropped by pirate raiders and mercenaries.

Medicine is best used for treating severe injuries or illnesses. It also works good enough for most surgeries, though the risk of failure is still present. Odds can be improved by as little as a shot of go-juice or luciferium for boosted consciousness.

It's not the best idea to excise cancerous growths using ordinary medicine due to its 0.7x success factor and 25% death chance on failure- unless your surgeon has at least a surgery success chance of 128.5% (achievable with a pair of bionic arms) - which translates to a roughly 90% success chance.

Attributes Medical Potency Market Value Mass (kg)
Values 100% 18 0.5

Treatment Quality

Doctor Level 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 20
Base Avg. Quality 20% 50% 80% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Base Surgery Success 20% 50% 80% 92% 95% 96.5% 98% 99%

Glitterworld Medicine

Glitterworld medicine.png
Glitterworld Medicine is the most powerful medicine out of the three types available, and can only be produced on high-tech Glitterworlds. Despite the high price, Glitterworld Medicine carries a value which no other medicine can carry: enhanced medical potency. Naturally, due to the cost, Glitterworld Medicine isn't worth the price for treating trivial diseases or injuries - but it makes surgery significantly easier, and allows even mediocre doctors to guarantee success in operations.

Whether it be bringing somebody from the jaws of death from the plague or excising cancerous growths, or installing bionics: Glitterworld Medicine is your answer. Injuries and more secure situations with diseases: ordinary medicine will cut it, or even herbal (especially for the former).

Attributes Medical Potency Market Value Mass (kg)
Values 220% 100 0.5

Treatment Quality

Doctor Level 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 20
Base Avg. Quality 44% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Base Surgery Success 44% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%


Basic medical work involving tending to wounds and illnesses. Treating wounds stop them from bleeding and reduce the chance of infections, while tending to illnesses slows them down allowing your colonists' immune systems to catch up and pull ahead.

Each individual treatment can have any quality from 0 - 100%. Higher quality makes infections less likely and slows down illnesses more.

After each treatment there will be text feedback showing the wound/ illness tended and the quality of the treatment. Only 1 injury will generate feedback at a time even of multiple are treated at once.


Surgery is a medical operation which involves removal and addition of body parts, or excising carcinomas. Any doctor can perform most types of surgery (excising carcinomas requires 10 medical skill), and herbal medicine is the minimum required medicine for most surgical operations, although it's not advisable to use herbal medicine in surgery unless you have an exceptionally good doctor.

Installing bionic arm.png

Available targets

Surgeons can perform surgery on colonists, prisoners or guests. Performing any kind of violating surgery (such as organ removal) on guests will anger the faction.
Tamed animals can be operated on as well, though there are limited options. Downed non-tamed animals can also be operated on once dragged to an animal sleeping spot.

Surgeons can also perform a 'medical' operation on downed mechanoids to remove body parts and to shut them down for good.

Success chance

Surgery success chance is determined by several factors: The Surgeon's Medicine skill, Manipulation, Sight (until 100%), Room Cleanliness, and Medical Potency of the Medicine used.
Outdoors, the success factor is always 60% no matter how clean the surroundings are.

From Beta 18 onwards all surgeries have a minimum 2% chance of failure no matter how good everything is.

The formula (simplified from the game's code) for the room cleanliness' effect on surgery success chance is effectively as follows:
C = 0.6 + (0.9 * ((c + 5) / 10))
if C < 0.6, then C = 0.6
or if C > 1.5, then C = 1.5

Where C is Room Cleanliness Factor; and c is room cleanliness.

Surgery success chance is measured based on the medical bed/ sleeping spot's location.

The basic surgery success chance formula is as follows:
S = (D*M)*C

Where S is Actual Surgery Success Chance; D is Doctor's Surgery Success Chance; M is Medical Potency; and C is Room Cleanliness Factor.

For example, we have John, a healthy doctor with a medicine skill of 5, installing a bionic arm on a fellow colonist. His base success chance is 70%, and he is using regular medicine, with a potency of 100%. The hospital in use has a cleanliness stat of 0 with clean wood floor.

If we plug in the numbers, we have to split the equation into two parts: room cleanliness, and getting the actual, surgery success chance.

  • C = 0.6 + (0.9 * ((0 + 5) / 10)) = 1.05
  • S = (0.7 * 1) * 1.05 = 0.735

So John only has a 73.5% chance of successfully completing an operation, yikes!

Surgery failure

If a surgery fails then the colonist will take damage, and materials (including prosthetics) will be wasted. For lesser failures, damage is concentrated near the site of surgery, while for the aptly named ridiculous ones they can be found anywhere in the body.

There are 3 kinds of surgery failure in-game.

  • Minor: Deals a little damage, and will not destroy any body parts.
  • Catastrophic: Deals great damage, and usually destroys body parts outright.
  • Ridiculous: Deals great damage scattered across the entire body.

In addition, each surgery has a death on failure chance, meaning that when it fails it is possible that the colonist instantly dies.

Doctoring strategies

You will often need to make the most out of the doctors you have, to ensure maximum doctoring efficiency and colonist survival rate/ well-being.


You should have doctors prioritize treating patients according to their injury severity.

1. Bleeding colonists should receive priority care as they may bleed to death or receive nasty infections. Always prioritize colonists closer to death.

  • Colonists about to die (<1 hours until death) are generally not worth saving unless you have extremely good bionic-enhanced doctors that can reach and patch them up in time.
    • Strip them to recover their clothes so they won't receive the deadman's apparel debuff. How you will deal with the dead colonist is up to you.
  • Colonists that are very close (1-4 hours till death) to dying should have the best doctors care over them.
  • Colonists with around 5-8 hours before death can be treated by regular doctors, or by good doctors without medicine.
  • Colonists with 12 hours or more till death can wait.

2. Colonists sick with deadly diseases should also receive priority care, especially those with wound infections or the plague.
3. Non-bleeding colonists aren't in a great risk of both infections or blood loss; they should be put on the bottom of your priority list.

Medicine allocation

Doctors will always tend to use the best medicine possible by default. To counteract this, set colonists' healthcare to Normal medicine or worse. Switch to Glitterworld medicine only if the colonist is down with a fast-working illness and you don't have a decent doctor on board, or they are about to receive a difficult operation.

You can also manually forbid medicine so they will be forced to use lower-tier medicine, so you can save your better medicine for later.

You should try to split your medicine apart into many stacks. If a doctor is about to treat a patient and someone else is getting medicine from a stack, your doctor will use medicine from another stack, or if there's none, he will try to dry-bandage the injured colonist. To combat this, you can draft doctors to go towards the medicine stacks, and manually un-draft and assign them to treat colonists when a doctor is finished taking the medicine.


Medicine should always be put near the hospital. Don't put them right inside the hospital as it reduces beauty unless you're willing to build a shelf to put them in. If you're anticipating the need for a treatment, have a doctor stand near your stocks of medicine. You can immediately get the doctor to heal them without having to have him go to the medicine storage and back, saving time.

To-do List (temporary)

To-do list for this page (not in order, feel free to contribute):
  • Sanitation: How it affects surgery, and infection likelihood.
    • Physical well-being's effect on this too