A young girl who wants to be a heart surgeon when she grows up used the phonetic alphabet to spell out her postcode on the phone to summon help for her mum who had collapsed at home in pain and was unable to breathe – let alone talk.
Rihanna Malcolm-Moore, who was nine at the time, has been praised by London Ambulance Service after she dialled 999 to get an ambulance after seeing her mum abandon an emergency call because she was too ill to ask for help.
Keisha Moore, 44, tried to phone London Ambulance Service after collapsing at home in Thornton Heath. Daughter Rihanna Malcolm-Moore, picked up the phone and made the 999 call instead.
She said: “I was really worried about my mum because she was in so much pain but I just wanted to help her.”
Not only was Rihanna able to give all the necessary details to the call handler but remarkably she could recite her post code using the phonetic alphabet.
She also explained that her mum has asthma and chronic anaemia. During the call, she added that her mother was in a cold sweat, felt sick and was in pain all over.
Keisha said: “I am so proud of her. She just took over. She told me she was calling an ambulance. She’s actually quite shy but she was able to stay calm and give our full address and contact details and say and say what had happened.”
Dipesh Makwana, the call handler who answered Rihanna’s 999 call, presented her with a certificate to recognise her exceptional response.
He said: “Rihanna really stood out – she was so calm and clear even though she must have been very frightened when her mum couldn’t breathe.
“Her mum has also taught her what to do in an emergency and they are a fantastic example to all families – children can save lives.”
Because of Rihanna’s call, a paramedic arrived at their home in just over five minutes. And a second ambulance arrived a few minutes later to take her to hospital.
Keisha started teaching Rihanna how to make emergency calls when she was just two-year’s-old and at four taught her to recite her mobile number. But Keisha admits she had no idea her daughter could use the phonetic alphabet.
She said: “I was really surprised she could do that – she must have just picked that up. She is a bright girl.”
Rihanna first made a 999 call for her mum when she was six years old – and then last year she made another call when her aunt slipped in the shower and suffered a head injury.
Rihanna, who goes to St Cyprian’s Greek Orthodox Academy, in Thornton Heath, spent some of her early life in hospital after being born prematurely.
After meeting the call handler and ambulance crews Rihanna added: “Well I have always wanted to be a heart surgeon… but also maybe a paramedic.