Joe Tormolen was a Starfleet lieutenant junior grade in the Medical Division of the Sciences Section, in then-Lieutenant Commander Spock's department aboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise in 2266.
He and Spock constituted a landing party to Psi 2000 in 2266, where a group of Federation researchers had become intoxicated by a polywater agent and killed themselves. Tormolen, whose nose was itchy, absentmindedly removed the glove of his contamination suit to scratch that itch in violation of medical-sterility protocols, then placed his hand on or near a stain of blood in the ice of the frozen outpost. He carried the polywater back to the Enterprise, and intoxicated the crew.
As the first to fall victim to the intoxication effects, Tormolen expressed his horror about the deaths to Captain Kirk. Tormolen then displayed a short temper with colleagues Hikaru Sulu and Kevin Riley, expressing, in a rage-filled rant, a deep-seated doubt if man was meant to travel through space. Tormolen then stabbed himself with a table knife in the recreation room, in front of horrified onlookers. Sulu and Riley attempted to restrain him, and became infected as well.
Tormolen died in surgery under the care of Doctor Leonard McCoy. McCoy commented that Joe's wound should have been a minor injury, but his body simply displayed no healing capacity – as if Tormolen had lost his will to live. (TOS: "The Naked Time")