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FORT WORTH The emergency department in one of Tarrant County's busiest hospitals will soon triple in size.

This Saturday, Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital will open the doors of its new $57 million state-of-the-art emergency center.

'It will make us more efficient,' said hospital spokeswoman Lillie Biggins.

It will be bigger, and better for doctors, emergency room personnel, and most importantly, hospital officials say for patients.

The new Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital emergency room will be three times larger than the current facility, and nearly doubles the number of patient beds -- vital for a facility that helped more than 100,000 people last year.

'Anybody who has been to our ER in the past couple of months particularly since the flu hit we are just bursting at the seams,' said Dr. Terence J. McCarthy. 'So we are more than ready for a new place, and it is very exciting.'

The new emergency room contains several large critical care rooms; diagnostic testing rooms for CAT scans and MRIs; observation areas for student nurses or residents in training; and a state-of-the-art learning center that lets emergency personnel practice real-life scenarios they might see in the back of an ambulance or in the operating room.

'These mannequins, they poop, they throw up... they do everything patients would,' Biggins said.

New, too, is an area of the emergency room dedicated to those patients with minor injuries like sprains or sore throats. The goal is to treat those patients more efficiently.

'We are particularly excited about what we call our 'supertrack,' where people with minor illnesses can come in and be seen and out the door,' McCarthy said. 'We are aiming that they be finished in 60 minutes.'

One improvement likely to please patients the most is private rooms in a busy ER.

'You can image how proud we can be to put patients in their own space and with their family, and close the door,' Biggins said.

E-mail tfoster@wfaa.com

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