Yes, it's terrible when people do that, but it's an unfortunate fact of life that it happens all the time. Anyway, since I had the same problem, and it did go away, you could try what I did; although I can't guarantee it will work for you.
In iTunes, select your device & choose the "Music" tab. Under "Sync Music" there is an option called "Include Voice Memos".
I unchecked this box, synced, & everything started working.
Counterintuitive, or what!
Thanks Caramby. I actually found another work-around
Here's how to copy the voice memo to your laptop (and then email it if you need to):
With iTunes open on the Voice Memo folder of your device (an iPhone 4s in my case), simply drag the required file from iTunes and onto the desktop of your pc/laptop. It won't remove the file from your device but simply make a copy. Then you can play the file from your pc/laptop (through Quicktime) as the file is in AAC format. You can also attach the file to an email for sending.
Hope this helps someone else.