the study of death and its surrounding circumstances, as in forensic medicine.
Psychiatry. the study of the effects of death and dying, especially the investigation of ways to lessen the suffering and address the needs of the terminally ill and their survivors.

1835–45; thanato- + -logy

thanatological [than-uh-tl-oj-i-kuhl] , adjective
thanatologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
thanatology (ˌθænəˈtɒlədʒɪ)
the scientific study of death and the phenomena and practices relating to it
[C19: from Greek thanatos death + -logy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1842, "scientific study of death," from Gk. thanatos "death" (from PIE *dhwene- "to disappear, die," perhaps from root meaning "dark, cloudy") + -logia "treating of." Thanatism (1900) is the belief that at death the soul ceases to exist. Hence also Thanatos (1935), the "death instinct" in Freudian psychology.
In 1970s, some undertakers made a bid to be called thanatologists.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

thanatology than·a·tol·o·gy (thān'ə-tŏl'ə-jē)
The study of death and dying, especially of their psychological and social aspects.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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