STRATHAM, N.H. — The first New Hampshire Health Department clinic to test people for hepatitis C related to an outbreak at Exeter Hospital was opening today as a new report cited the hospital for violations, saying it failed to properly maintain supervision over narcotics.

The report by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says syringes were left unattended by nurses at the cardiac catheterization laboratory, where the outbreak occurred. The hospital said in the report it has now changed its policy to place syringes in a secure location, where they will remain when medication is not being administered to patients.

State health regulators began investigating the hospital in June after it reported the hepatitis C outbreak among patients.

Former hospital technician David Kwiatkowski was arrested last month, and accused of stealing drugs from the lab and infecting 31 patients with contaminated syringes. The 33-year-old former traveling medical technician worked in at least 18 hospitals in eight states.

The report said a nurse at the hospital was asked to demonstrate the type of syringe and blunt tip needle commonly used, and how each syringe is labeled with the name of the medication to be used. The nurse then showed how to withdraw drugs from a medication machine that includes a finger print scan and a password.

Once the machine was accessed, a vial would be dispensed with 2 milligrams of medication that would then be drawn up into the syringe.

The review found the failure to secure the drugs happened after the medication was dispensed from the machine and the medicine was placed on an unsecured cart in the lab procedure room, in the presence of technicians “who do not have authority to handle medications.”

The review also found the medication might have been briefly left unattended while the staff member responsible for it was putting on a lead apron.

Kwiatkowski worked at Exeter Hospital from April 2011 to May 25, when he was fired. He previously worked in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, and had been fired from two hospitals for drug-related incidents.

He is charged in New Hampshire with illegally obtaining drugs and tampering with a consumer product, but prosecutors have said they expect to bring more charges.

Kwiatkowski has told authorities he did not steal or use drugs.

After initially asking only cardiac lab patients to get tested, New Hampshire health officials now recommend that some 3,300 people who underwent surgery or were admitted to the intensive care unit during Kwiatkowski’s employment get tested.

The first clinic was being held today and Saturday at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham.

Clinics also will be held in Plaistow, Rochester and Manchester.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.