Communication scholars have investigated medical error and apology discourse over the last 20 years. However, despite the previous research on this topic, little is known about what factors (i.e., controllability, emotional response, and error severity) motivate a patient’s desire for an apology after a medical error has occurred. A series of quantitative analyses were conducted, and attribution theory was employed to uncover a unique perspective on this topic. In general, survey data from 429 participants revealed that controllability and emotional response were related to a patient’s desire for an apology, whereas the severity of the error was not. The results of this study not only advocate for more research on this topic but also have several implications for attribution theory, for researchers and healthcare practitioners.