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The position was not difficult for Abagnale because supervisors did no real medical work.However, he was nearly exposed when an infant almost died from oxygen deprivation because he had no idea what a nurse meant when she said there was a "blue baby." He was able to fake his way through most of his duties by letting the interns handle the cases coming in during his late-night shift, setting broken bones and other mundane tasks.When filling out a rental application he impulsively listed his occupation as "doctor", fearing that the owner might check with Pan Am if he wrote "pilot".After befriending a real doctor who lived in the same apartment complex, he agreed to act as a supervisor of resident interns as a favor until the local hospital could find someone else to take the job.He left the hospital only after he realized he could put lives at risk by his inability to respond to life-and-death situations.While posing as Pan Am First Officer "Robert Black", Abagnale forged a Harvard University law transcript, passed the Louisiana bar exam, and got a job at the Louisiana State Attorney General's office at the age of nineteen.He acquired a uniform by calling Pan American World Airways (Pan Am), telling the company that he was a pilot working for them who had lost his uniform while getting it cleaned at his hotel, and obtaining a new one with a fake employee ID.
Afraid of possible capture, he retired temporarily to Georgia.
Abagnale was eventually arrested in Montpellier, France, in 1969 when an Air France attendant he previously dated recognized him and informed police.
When the French police arrested him, 12 countries in which he had committed fraud sought his extradition.
As a company pilot, he was also able to stay at hotels free during this time.
Everything from food to lodging was billed to the airline company.