Can I stabilize someone by simply rolling a DC 10 Wisdom check if I don't have the Medicine Skill or any other healing-related equipment or abilities?


3 Answers 3


Yes, you can make a Medicine check without any equipment

A healer's kit allows you to stabilise without making the skill check (PHB, p. 151):

Healer’s Kit. This kit is a leather pouch containing bandages, salves, and splints. The kit has ten uses. As an action, you can expend one use of the kit to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check.

Alternatively, page 178 of the PHB says about the Medicine skill:

A Wisdom (Medicine) check lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.

One requires equipment (and has a matching cost) but removes the need to make the roll, while the other requires nothing special but has the chance of failure.


The general rules do not forbid it.

The default rule with ability checks is that you can roll to attempt any task, even if you are not proficient in the specific skill being called for. If you are not proficient, you just don't get a proficiency bonus on the roll; it's a straight d20 + Ability modifier.

Medicine is no different. In the absence of a specific rule that says a particular task requires proficiency to even attempt, there is no such requirement. (Specific tasks that require proficiency are extremely rare, and often relate to downtime activities where you aren't making a roll, but simply declaring that you do a thing, and the proficiency stands as your permission to do the thing.)

Stabilizing A Creature

The best way to save a creature with 0 hit points is to heal it. If healing is unavailable, the creature can at least be stabilized so that it isn't killed by a failed death saving throw.

You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

Since the rules on "Stabilizing a Creature" don't say you need to know medicine to try it, you don't.

What about equipment?

Whether you can do a given task without proper tools is less clear and more in the DM's purview -- for example, it would be difficult to argue that you can attempt to write a persuasive letter without paper and something to write with. However, there seems to be no good reason to require specific gear to attempt to stop somebody from bleeding out when the specific rule about how to do such a thing makes no mention of needing any gear.

Furthermore, putting limitations on stabilization checks that would make them unusual to even attempt would seem to be against the intent of the very first line of that description. Why would the writers make it sound like stabilization checks are the obvious second choice for handling a dying ally if there were a bunch of additional unmentioned requirements to even try it?

In my opinion, DMs should generally err on the side of letting a player at least try a task even without proper tools, using higher DCs, disadvantage, and/or additional costs (such as broken gear) to reflect that they are making-do with improvised tools, like using a knife blade to pry at a sealed door or trying to break a rock by hammering it with a sword pommel. But even that doesn't seem necessary in this case. The rules as written seem to think that you can just run up to a dying comrade and make your roll to save their life.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your opening sentence is so important, and so many people still 'don't get it' that I wonder if italics might be useful? Your call. (Everything before the semi colon) Also golf clap \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 1:37

You do not need proficiency or equipment.

The rules for stabilizing a character state:

You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

There is no mention of needing proficiency in the medicine skill or extra equipment.


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