Joan Sullivan Garrett

      One Life Lost,

    Millions Gained

          The Story of a Flight Nurse Turned MedAire CEO

Who would have ever guessed that a registered nurse, and later a critical care emergency flight nurse, would found a global company in the remote medicine and travel industries? My dream was never to be an entrepreneur or inventor. That’s not what I set out to do. My purpose in life was to care for others.


Joan Sullivan Garrett

Joan Sullivan Garrett is the Founder and Chairman of MedAire, the world’s largest integrated aviation and maritime provider of medical, travel and safety services . . .

History of


So how did I embark on this path? Founding a company like MedAire would never have materialized if not for my involvement in medical evacuations and rescue operations as a flight nurse in the most remote areas imaginable throughout Arizona. There was never a “good” call, for every scramble involved life, death, and the worst of the worst accidents, whether it be in the mountains or desert.
Most of the public has no inkling that MedAire is their safety net. They are unaware that we provide the medical kits and defibrillators stowed in cabins aboard aircraft and yachts. Perhaps this book will help inform travelers about radio or satellite links between crews and MedLink emergency physicians who assist during emergencies. No matter where in the world passengers roams, their lives are better safeguarded because of this innovation.
MedAire was literally an idea inspired by the traumatic death of a little boy on a desert road, Ralphie, to whom this book is dedicated. His passing became a catalyst for much needed change in remote medical care. I knew we could do better as an industry. We had to do better. And we did do better, as you’ll see . . .

JOAN HAS BEEN Featured in


What a powerful story! We are all safer in the air, on land, and at sea because of Joan Sullivan Garrett, a pioneer in telemedicine.

– Don Short, Presidential Pilot to Lyndon B. Johnson and Director and Chief Pilot of Corporate Air Transportation, Northrop Corporation


It’s a rare story, quite gripping, and shares lessons that can benefit entrepreneurs, senior executives, and corporate leaders today.

– Laurent Sabourin, Group Managing Director, International SOS


This is a story that cases in entrepreneurship will be written about in our colleges and universities.

– Roy Herberger, PhD, President Emeritus Thunderbird School of Global Management

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