We’ve poked a bit of fun at CNN’s Sanjay Gupta in the past. See this Blair Witch like visit to a Mexican swine flu ward he did in the epidemic’s earliest days. And, yes, we’ve also had more substantive quibbles with his reporting.

But after having heard him speak earlier this week on NPR’s Fresh Air about his new book “Cheating Death,” when given some space to report and talk he’s clearly a very bright guy. (They don’t, after all, give out degrees in medical neuroscience to just anybody.)

The interview is a fascinating look at the very frontiers of emergency care and death, where medical and scientific advances are causing doctors and researchers to reevaluate how “dead” someone can be and still come back to very normal life. And as a bonus, guest interviewer Dave Davies closes with a nicely posed why-aren’t-you-our-Surgeon-General question. At 20 minutes long, it’s well worth a listen.

Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.