When a doctor diagnoses a loved one with a terminal illness, life can change in an instant. Suddenly, routines, daily errands and even work shifts can become the complete opposite of what they once were. With all of the life changes that a serious illness can bring, discovering that the diagnosis was incorrect can be upsetting, to say the least. Pennsylvania families who have suffered as a result of an improper diagnosis may decide to seek justice.

ABC News is quick to point out in an article on cancer misdiagnoses that 1.3 million Americans see such scares every year. Who makes the mistakes? According to ABC’s report, most errors come from pathologists in the labs, where they incorrectly analyze a patient’s tests. Roughly one out of five cancer cases saw misclassification. Cancer experts note that most biopsy mistakes involve tissue from the skin, prostrate and female reproductive tract. In addition, the pathologists themselves may not also be reliable; ABC shares that some are not specialists in certain types of cancer altogether.

Everyday Health also speculates on the frequency of medical misdiagnoses, stating that about half of all errors result in serious harm. Furthermore, the cases in which misdiagnoses are most common typically involve rare diseases or ones that are incredibly common. Everyday Health also provides the unsettling statistic that up to 44 percent of some types of cancer are misdiagnosed. Whether it is because of an incorrect list of one’s medical history, a lack of time spent in evaluation or missing information, patients who go through a wrong diagnosis can deal with the effects for months — and even years — after a medical professional has made a mistake.