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Floyd County doctor returns home after helping hurricane victims in Florida

FLOYD, Va. – It's Friday and Dr. Susan Osborne is checking on her patients at the Skyline Nursing and Rehabilitation center in Floyd. But just days ago, the family physician was on the ground in Panama City, Florida, using her training to help families affected by Hurricane Michael. 

"I like doing the work so that's what I'm there for but sometimes the conditions are rough," said Osborne, D.O.

Osborne is a member of the National Disaster Medical System. She is part of an assistance team deployed during major disasters and public health emergencies. Osborne was on call as Michael headed toward Florida. 

"You don't know what you're getting into. They don't exactly tell you where you're going," said Osborne.

She spent two weeks providing medical care to people in need. In Panama City, the hospital at which she was stationed suffered severe damage. So, the team set up a tent hospital nearby, stitching up wounds and refilling prescriptions.

For Osborne, deployments are not only a chance to help people on some of the darkest days of their lives; they are a chance to step out of her comfort zone and bring some of that experience back to her patients at home. 

"We often talk about preparedness, like what would they do when it's time to leave their house. If there's 5 minutes to make a decision, what would they grab?" said Osborne. 

Osborne has been a doctor for 29 years, joining the NDMS after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Through years of service, one thing has stayed the same -- she loves caring for people and those are the memories that stick. 

"I remember the people," said Osborne.